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IN TWO SECTIONS— SECTION ONE 

Entered as second-class matter January 4, 1921, at the post office at New York, New York, under the act of March 3, 1879. 

Harrison's Reports 

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A REVIEWING SERVICE FREE FROM THE INFLUENCE OF FILM ADVERTISING 



Vol. XXI SATURDAY, JANUARY 7, 1939 No. 1 

The Television Problem in Motion Picture Theatres — No. 5 



Q. 10 : How near is television reception in the 
home ? 

A. Television reception in the home is practi- 
cally here. In England, a television broadcasting 
service has been offered for almost two years, and 
is beginning to receive serious public notice. In the 
United States, such a- service is scheduled to start 
in New York either in April or May, 1939, when 
two, (and possibly three), stations will have been 
completed in the New York City area and will be 
ready to begin sending out programs, although on 
a limited scale for the time being. Each of the two 
larger stations will have a sending apparatus of 
about 7,500 watts. A similar station is planned for 
a point between Albany and Schenectady. 

The pictures in the home are fairly bright and 
clear, even though they possess some of the limita- 
tions mentioned elsewhere in this series of articles. 
At present the size of the picture is between three 
by four inches, and seven and one-half by ten 
inches. For general home use, the larger sizes of 
the commercially acceptable receivers are desirable. 

The cost of the sets range anywhere between 
$150 and $400, or more, the price depending on 
how large is the picture and what extra features are 
included in the receiver. 

Up to the present the programs have been largely 
experimental, the purpose being to determine the 
reaction in the home. It is certain that, if the pres- 
ent broadcasting setup in this country continues, 
the programs will have, in the main, advertising 
sponsors. Such programs will, therefore, contain 
advertisements, both in the sound and in the pic- 
ture. But these programs will in no way be competi- 
tive to the theatre film entertainments, by reason of 
the fact that only short subjects will, as said, be 
broadcast, of a duration probably anywhere from 
fifteen to twenty minutes, and of inferior quality 
as compared with good picture entertainment in 
the theatres. 

Television is a challenge to the motion picture 
industry; but whether it will injure it or benefit it 
lies entirely in the hands of exhibitors as well as 
of the producers. Wise story selection, improved 
production methods, honest distribution systems, 
perfect projection, efficiency as well as economy — 
these are a definite and satisfying answer to the 
television threat. But if the industry neglects to 
keep up with the times, it may be injured by this 
new art. Let it learn a lesson from the experience 
the railroads have had : if the railroads, instead of 
disregarding, and even insulting, the public, had 
made the improvements that they are now making, 
they would not be exerting frantic efforts now to 
lure the public back to railroad travel. They disre- 
garded tlie automobile, minimized the competition 
from the bus, and laughed at the passenger plane; 



but when they woke up, they found themselves on 
the verge of bankruptcy. The motion picture in- 
dustry may, despite its advantages, suffer the same 
fate, unless new blood with new ideas are poured 
into, not only exhibition, but also distribution, as 
well as production. 

Let the motion picture industry beware ! 



THE PRODUCER MEMORANDUM 
—LAST ARTICLE 

"2. Trade Announcement." 

This is, of course, nothing but blind-selling in disguise. 
"Each distributor," the memorandum says, "will make gen- 
eral announcement at or prior to the beginning of each of 
its seasons, containing such information as it may be prac- 
ticable to give of all pictures completed or actually in pro- 
duction then intended for release during such season, and of 
any other pictures then intended for release during such 
season, it being understood that the completion of such pic- 
tures actually in production and the making of such other 
pictures which it is intended to produce are subject to the 
hazards and uncertainties of the business and they may not 
be completed or produced, as planned." 

The proposal offers nothing. It is a reiteration of what 
the producers are doing now and have been doing for sev- 
eral years. It is no cure for the obnoxious blind-selling 
system. Allied asked that the number of pictures to be can- 
celled by small exhibitors be raised to thirty per cent when 
such pictures are not identified in the contract, but the pro- 
ducers have not granted it. 

"3. Exhibitor's Limited Playing Time : When a number 
of pictures is offered for license to an exhibitor by a distri- 
butor and the exhibitor refuses to license such number on 
the sole ground that by reason of the minimum number of 
pictures agreed to be exhibited under the license agree- 
ments theretofore entered into by such exhibitor it is im- 
possible under such exhibitor's operating policy to play the 
entire number offered, then such distributor will offer to 
such exhibitor such lesser number of pictures as may be 
agreed upon or determined by arbitration as the maximum 
number of pictures that could be played by such exhibitor, 
provided that distributor shall always have the right at any 
time before or after making such offer to such exhibitor to 
solicit or license all or any of its pictures to any other 
exhibitor." 

Whoever framed this clause had better go back to school 
for additional lessons in composition. The provisions in the 
contracts and in any other documents that the producers' 
legal talents composed when it concerned exhibitors have 
always been either ambiguous, or obscure, or both, but this 
proposal transcends anything that I have ever read. 

The best meaning that I can extract out of it is this : 
when an exhibitor cannot buy a producer's entire product 
because he has no room for it, then the distributor will 
offer to the exhibitor as fewer pictures from his entire 
group as the exhibitor and he may agree upon. It it under- 
stood, however, that the distributor retains the right at all 
times to license his entire group, if he can, to some other 
exhibit »r. 

The exhibitor demand for the right to buy some pictures 
from a distributor's entire group has arisen from the fact 
that, under the system whereby an exhibitor has to buy a 
producer's entire group or be without them, that is. under 
the block-booking system, the exhibitor often found himself 
in an embarrassing position, because the public could not 
understand why he could not show certain meritorious pic- 
tures. But this proposal docs not help him at all. Suppose he 
{Continued on last pane) 



2 



HARRISON'S REPORTS 



January 7, 1939 



"Topper Takes a Trip" with Constance 
Bennett and Roland Young 

(United Artists, January 12; time, 80 min.) 

This fantastic comedy, which is a sequel to the first 
"Topper" picture, is only mildly entertaining. Those who 
saw the other one will find little in this to entertain them, 
for the comedy is caused in the same way — that is, hy the 
materialization and dematerialization of one of the charac- 
ters and of her dog; what was novel then is just slightly 
boresome now. In the very beginning, parts of the old pic- 
ture are used in order to explain to those who did not see it 
what the whole thing is about — during those scenes Cary 
Grant appears. The fact that he does not appear later is to 
the picture's detriment, for he is missed. Moreover, none of 
the other players are strong box-office attractions. 

In the development of the plot. Miss Bennett comes back 
to earth because she felt her work had not been completed. 
Reading that Roland Young's wife (Billie Burke) was di- 
vorcing him because of his escapades with her on her for- 
mer visit to earth, Miss Bennett decides to help him. Young, 
remembering the trouble Miss Bennett had caused him, begs 
her to go away, but she refuses. They follow Miss Burke to 
Paris where, in company with a friend (Verree Teasdale), 
she had gone for her divorce. Naturally Miss Bennett em- 
barrasses Young when in public places, but invisible to the 
public, she pushes him around causing him to stumble. Find- 
ing out that an impoverished Baron was trying to marry 
Miss Burke for her money, she suddenly appears in his 
room, making it look as if she were on intimate terms with 
him. Miss Burke is shocked. Finally, through Miss Ben- 
nett's efforts, Young and Miss Burke are reconciled. Feel- 
ing that her work was completed, Miss Bennett prepares 
to leave the earth to join her husband. 

Thorne Smith wrote the story, and Eddie Moran, Jack 
Jevnc, and Corey Ford, the screen play; Norman Z. Mc- 
Leod directed it, and Milton H. Bren produced it. In the 
cast are Alan Mowbray, Franklin Pangborn, Alexander 
D'Arcy, and others. 

Not particularly suitable for children. Suitability, 
Class B. 

"Trade Winds" with Fredric March 
and Joan Bennett 

( United Artists, December 22 ; time, 93 l /> min.) 
Just a fair comedy-melodrama. The story is extremely 
thin and unbelievable ; one of its weakest points is the fact 
that, for the sake of comedy, the detective is made dumb. 
His actions lack comedy ; as a matter of fact they are so 
silly that they tend to weaken the story dramatically. The 
background, with the exception of just a few interior sets, 
is made up of processed shots of different foreign ports ; 
this might be acceptable to patrons who enjoy travelogues, 
btu the average audience may resent it. At times the action 
lags, particularly in the romantic scenes ; the most exciting 
part of the picture is the end, where the hero traps the mur- 
derer. The romance is developed in the routine way : — 

Overcome with grief at the suicide of her sister, Joan 
Bennett goes to see the man (Sidney Blackmer) responsi- 
ble for it. In a jesting mood, he hands her a gun asking her 
to shoot him, and that is just what she does. Thinking that 
she had killed him, she runs away. Blackmer's body is found 
by the police, with Miss Bennett's purse near it. The police 
inspector decides to send Fredric March, a private detective, 
in search of Miss Bennett ; knowing March's weakness for 
pretty girls, he sends Ralph Bellamy, a sober, serious but 
rather silly detective, along with March. Their search 
takes them to many foreign ports ; March finally catches up 
with Miss Bennett. They fall deeply in love with each 
other, and everything is serene until Miss Bennett finds out 
who March is. March pleads with her to have faith in him ; 
he even shows willingness to give up his career just to pro- 
tect her. But, since the police knew where March was, and 
had ordered Miss Bennett's arrest, March insists on taking 
her back himself, pretending that he was doing so just for 
the $100,000 reward offered by Blackmer's father. Miss 
Bennett is disgusted, not knowing that March wanted to 
use the money to obtain proof of her innocence. Through a 
ruse, he finally accomplishes this, proving that Miss Ben- 
nett had used a gun with blanks, and that the jealous hus- 
band of one of Blackmer's women friends, who had wit- 
in i d the scene, had entered and actually killed Blackmer. 
Miss Bennett and March are joyfully reunited. 

Tay Garnett wrote the story and directed the picture ; 
Dorothv Parker, Alan Campbell, and Frank R. Adams 
wrote the screen play, and Walter Wanger produced it. In 
the cast are Ann Sothern, Thomas Mitchell, Robert Elli- 
ott, and others. 

Suitability, Class B. 



"Pacific Liner" with Victor McLaglen, 
Chester Morris and Wendy Barrie 

(RKO, January 6 ; time, 75 min.) 

A pretty depressing program melodrama. Most of the 
action takes place in the boiler and engine rooms oi a large 
ocean-going liner, where the crew, some of whom were suf- 
fering from cholera contracted from a Chinese stowaway, 
are kept virtual prisoners so as to prevent the disease from 
spreading. There is not much movement, and just slight 
comic relief; everything centers around the trapped m"n 
and their reactions to their misfortune. Spectators with 
delicate stomachs may shudder at the sight of the men 
putting dead bodies into the furnaces to be burned, this 
being done as a means of precaution ; also at the unpleasant- 
ness of watching men collapse one by one, having contracted 
the disease. A romance has been worked into the plot, but 
it does not help matters much. No fault can be found with 
the individual performances; it is just that the material 
lacks dramatic power. The character that is impersonated 
by McLaglen is egotistical : — 

A Chinese stowaway is discovered by Victor McLaglen, 
chief engineer of a large passenger liner bound for San 
Francisco, who insists on putting him to work. But the man 
collapses ; upon examining him, Chester Morris, the ship's 
doctor, discovers that the man was suffering from cholera. 
He dies; his body is burned in the furnace. Morris issues 
orders that no man was to leave his post, so that the disease 
would not spread to the passengers. Ho sets to work trying 
U) prevent the men from contracting the disease, but he has 
a difficult time. McLaglen, who was infatuated with Wendy 
Barrie, the ship's nurse, suggests that she visit Morris, 
knowing that once she was down below she would not be 
permitted to return to her own quarters, and he would thus 
have a chance to make love to her. She helps Morris, with 
whom she was in love, but from whom she had parted be- 
cause of his incurable desire to wander all over the world. 
When McLaglen is stricken, the remaining memb' ,r « of the 
crew try to revolt and leave the boiler room, but McLaglen 
gets out of his sick bed in time to prevent them. Finally the 
ship gets to port, without any of the passengers realizing 
what had happened; McLaglen recovers. Miss Barrie 
finally agrees to marry Morris. 

Anthony Coldeway and Henry R. Symonds wrote the 
story, and John Twist, the screen play ; Lew Landers di- 
rected it, and Robert Sisk produced it. In the cast are Alan 
Hale, Barry Fitzgerald, Allan Lane, Halliwcll Hobbes, 
and others. 

Too depressing for children. Adult fare. Class B. 



"The Girl Downstairs" with Franchct Tone, 
Franciska Gaal and Walter Connolly 

(MGM, December 23 ; time, 76 min.) 

Just a mildly entertaining comedy. The production is 
extremely lavish, but the story is artificial, tiring one. It 
seems a pity to waste the talents of good actors like Fran- 
chot Tone and Walter Connolly in anything so silly as this, 
for, in spite of their efforts, they are so handicapped by the 
material that they fail to make an impression. One or two 
spots provoke laughter ; but for the most part the antics of 
the characters are far from amusing : — 

Franchot Tone, a wealthy playboy, is in love with Rita 
Johnson, daughter of millionaire Connolly, who opjwses the 
match. Connolly orders his servants not to allow Tone to 
enter the house. But Tone, determined to outwit Connolly, 
makes friends with the scullery maid (Franciska Gaal), the 
one servant who did not know who he was. He pretends to 
be his own chauffeur ; Miss Gaal, an unsophisticated coun- 
try girl, falls madly in love with him. When she arrives at 
his apartment with a note from Miss Johnson, Tone carries 
on the deception ; a friend visiting him pretends to be the 
master and "discharges" Tone. Thinking she had been the 
cause of it all, Miss Gaal invests her savings to buy a 
dilapidated taxicab so that Tone might earn a living. 
Touched by her kindness, he takes her out again ; he then 
realizes that he loved her. She learns of the deception when 
Tone arrives at a party given to celebrate his engagement 
to Miss Johnson ; she did not know that he planned to break 
the engagement. She leaves the house so as to go back to 
her farm home ; Tone, in order to prevent her from leaving, 
enters a charge against her with the police. They find her at 
the station and arrest her ; Tone obtains her release. They 
are reconciled. 

Sandor Hunyady wrote the story, and Harold Goldman, 
Felix Jackson and Karl Noti, the screen play ; Norman 
Taurog directed it, and Harry Rapf produced it. In the cast 
are Reginald Gardner, Reginald Owen, Franklin Pang- 
born, and others. 

Suitability, Class A. 



January 7, 1939 



HARRISON'S REPORTS 



3 



"Gambling Ship" with Robert Wilcox 
and Helen Mack 

(Universal, January 20; time, 61 min.) 

A good program melodrama. Although the story is not 
novel, it holds one's attention well for the action is fast and, 
for the most part, exciting. It has some comedy, too, caused 
by wisecracking. Both hero and heroine win the spectator's 
sympathy, for they show courage in the face of danger. The 
closing scenes are thrilling. The romance is pleasant: — 

Heartbroken at her father's death, Helen Mack decides 
to continue in his business, that of operating an honest 
gambling ship, in order to keep an orphans' home supplied 
with money in accordance with her father's wishes. Fur- 
thermore, from what she could learn from her father's 
assistant (Joseph Sawyer), Miss Mack feels certain that 
her father had been killed by Irving Pichel, a racketeer, who 
had tried unsuccessfully to buy the ship. Pichel engages 
Robert Wilcox, who had come to him highly recommended, 
as one of his henchmen. He assigns Wilcox to Miss Mack's 
ship. Wilcox, acting in accordance with instructions, assists 
Pichel's men in fixing the gambling tables so that they 
would win and thus break Miss Mack. When Sawyer and 
Miss Alack find out what he had done, they order him off 
the ship. Wilcox, on the pretense of attempting to blackmail 
Pichel, gets him to call at his hotel room. Wilcox had 
planted a motion picture camera in the radio so as to make 
a record of everything that Pichel would do and say. Pichel 
finds out that Wilcox was a federal investigator ; assisted 
by his henchmen, he takes Wilcox to his quarters, where he 
keeps him a prisoner. But Wilcox, knowing that Pichel's 
men had placed a bomb on Miss Mack's ship, where that 
very day she was entertaining the children from the orphan- 
age, manages to escape and get to the ship just in time to 
prevent the explosion. Miss Mack and Sawyer apologize 
for having mistrusted him. Miss Mack confesses her love 
for him. 

G. Carleton Brown and Emanuel Manheim wrote the 
story, and Alex Gottlieb, the screen play ; Aubrey Scotto 
directed it, and Irving Starr produced it. In the cast are 
Ed Brophy, Selmer Jackson, Sam McDaniel, and others. 

Not for children. Class B. 

"Paris Honeymoon" with Bing Crosby, 
Akim Tamiroff, Franciska Gaal, Shirley 
Ross and Edward Everett Horton 

(Paramount, January 27 ; time, 85 min.) 

Just fair. It has been given a lavish production ; and the 
individual performances are good. But not much can be said 
for the story, which is extremely silly and at times tiresome. 
Supposedly a comedy, the gags fall flat, that is with the 
exception of one comical idea — this has to do with a certain 
liquor that makes those who drink it act in a peculiar way. 
Bing Crosby puts over the musical numbers in his custom- 
ary competent style; but the songs are not outstanding. 
The romantic mixups are developed according to formula, 
and fail to hold one's interest : — 

Crosby, a millionaire cowboy, learns, on the day of his 
intended marriage to Shirley Ross, that her divorce from a 
French Count to whom she had been married, had never 
gone through. Both he and Miss Ross go to Paris, there to 
complete the divorce proceedings. Crosby leaves Miss Ross 
in Paris in order to look over a castle in the mountains that 
he wanted to buy. Franciska Gaal, who worked as a drudge 
in Akim Tamiroff's tavern, spies Crosby and falls in love 
with him. She is overjoyed when she is chosen as the Rose 
Queen for the annual festival. One of the customs required 
her to live, for one week, in the castle occupied by Crosby. 
She tries in many ways to win his affections but he con- 
siders her a nuisance. Crosby drives to the station to meet 
Miss Ross; he is annoyed to find Miss Gaal hidden in his 
car. She interferes with his driving, causing the car to be 
wrecked. Since it was raining, they are forced to take shelter 
in an unoccupied cabin. In the meantime, Miss Ross is en- 
raged when Crosby does not show up. The only available 
vehicle is an open cab; she is drenched when she arrives at 
the castle. Being alone with Miss Gaal makes Crosby notice 
her charms ; he falls in love with her. Nevertheless he de- 
cides to go through with his marriage to Miss Ross. They 
go back to Paris. But he cannot go through with it ; he re- 
turns to the small village in time to stop Miss Gaal's mar- 
riage to Tamiroff, who wanted to marry her only to get the 
expensive ring Crosby had given her. She is overjoyed at 
his arrival. 

Angela Sherwood wrote the story, and Frank Butler and 
Don Hartman, the screen play; Frank Tuttle directed it, 
and Harlan Thompson produced it. In the cast arc Ben 
Blue, Rafaela Ottiano, Gregory Gayc, Victor Kilian, and 
others. Suitability, Class A. 



"Tom Sawyer, Detective" with Billy Cook 
and Donald O'Connor 

(Paramount, December 23 ; time, 67 min.) 
A fair program picture, suitable mostly for young folk. 
Billy Cook, as Tom Sawyer, and Donald O'Connor, as 
Huckleberry Finn, give good performances ; their actions 
at times provoke laughter. One is held in suspense in the 
second half, when an innocent man is held for a murder he 
did not commit. A mildly pleasant romance is worked into 
the plot. 

Because of the fact that the United Artists picture re- 
cently released was called "Adventures of Tom Sawyer," 
exhibitors will have to impress upon their patrons the fact 
that this is not a remake but an entirely new story ; other- 
wise, they may not want to see it. 

While on the steamboat bound for Arkansas, where they 
were to spend the summer with an aunt (Elisabeth Risdon) 
and uncle (Porter Hall), Tom and Huckleberry meet Jake 
Dunlap (William Haade) who, they believed, was a jewel 
thief. They discover that Jake was the long-missing twin 
brother of Jupiter Dunlap (also played by Haade), who 
worked as a hired man on their uncle's farm. Jake convinces 
them that he was not a crook but that the two men following 
him were crooks ; the boys help him escape. During an 
argument with Jupiter, Uncle Silas (Hall) strikes him; 
thinking that he had killed him, he runs away. While walk- 
ing in the woods, Tom and Huckleberry see Jake attacked 
and murdered by the two men from the boat ; they run away. 
Jupiter and his brother Brace find their murdered brother ; 
noticing that he wore whiskers as a disguise, Brace removes 
them and tells Jupiter to wear them and pose as Jake. They 
take the diamonds. When Jake's body is found and identified 
as Jupiter's, Uncle Silas gives himself up. Tom and Huckle- 
berry decide to investigate for themselves ; they examine 
the body and discover it was really Jake's. On the day of the 
trial, they rush to court and divulge their findings. Jupiter 
admits his identity and tells the court that Brace forced him 
into the mess. Brace had been angry at Uncle Silas because 
he would not permit his daughter, who was engaged to a 
young lawyer, to marry Brace. Uncle Silas is freed, and the 
boys are congratulated for their good work. 

The plot was adapted from the novel by Mark Twain ; 
Lewis Eoster, Robert Yost, and Stuart Anthony wrote the 
screen play ; Louis King directed it. In the cast are Philip 
Warren, Janet Waldo, Raymond Hatton, and others. 

Suitability, Class A. 



"Kentucky" with Loretta Young, Richard 
Greene and Walter Brennan 

(20th Century-Fox, December 30; time, 95 min.) 

Very good mass entertainment. It is not just an ordinary 
horse-racing picture ; rather, it shows, in a human way, 
what the breeding and racing of thoroughbreds means to 
those who carry on the family tradition of racing and who 
have a natural love for the animal. In addition, the produc- 
tion is lavish and is enhanced by the technicolor photog- 
raphy, particularly in the outdoor scenes during the races. 
There is delightful comedy contributed mostly by Walter 
Brennan, a charming romance, and plentiful thrills to hold 
the spectator in suspense. The race in the closing scenes is 
so exciting that it leaves one limp. 

In the development of the plot, Richard Greene, whose 
family had been feuding with Loretta Young's family since 
Civil War days, assumes another name and applies at Miss 
Young's farm for a job as horse trainer. The only one who 
knows him is an old negro man who had formerly worked 
for his family, but Greene silences him with gifts. Miss 
Young, who had found a note in her father's belongings 
after his death, signed by Greene's father (Moroni Olsen), 
wealthy banker and owner of thoroughbreds, which entitled 
him to one of Olsen's two-year old horses, goes with her 
uncle (Brennan) to get the horse. To her disappointment 
he picks one that does not look like a winner to her. But 
after careful training by Greene, the horse begins to show 
possibilities. On the day of the important Kentucky Derby 
race. Miss Young discovers Greene's identity and is beset 
by doubts as to his honesty in training the horse ; she thinks 
that he might have had some trick up his sleeve so that his 
father's horse would win. But she decides to follow his ad- 
vice anyway. And her horse wins. Her delight is marred by 
the death of Brennan, whose heart could not stand the 
excitement. The feud is finally declared over when Greene 
and Miss Young plan to marry. 

John T. Foote wrote the story, and he and Lamar Trotti, 
the screen play ; David Butler directed it, and Gene Markcy 
produced it. In the cast are Douglas Dumbrille, Karen 
Morley, Willard Robertson, and others. 

Suitability, Class A. 



4 



HARRISON'S REPORTS 



January 7, 1939 



buys enough pictures from three distributors to take care of 
his needs with the exception of a few play-dates : when he 
goes to a fourth distributor to book an outstanding picture 
of his, that distributor will require the exhibitor to fill all 
his remaining play-dates before he will let the exhibitor 
have the picture he wants. But what will he tell his public 
when a fifth, a sixth and even a seventh distributor will 
have produced a meritorious picture and he cannot show it ? 

This discussion refers to cases, not where the fourth dis- 
tributor has an opportunity to lease his entire product to a 
second exhibitor, but where there is no second exhibitor to 
lease his pictures to. 

The exhibitor representatives should demand that, where 
there is no competitive theatre, the exhibitor be allowed to 
lease any number of a distributor's pictures. There have 
been cases when an exhibitor had filled all his play-dates 
from the programs of a few distributors and a left-out 
distributor retaliated either by sending to the people of the 
exhibitor's town circulars designed to cause the public to 
bring pressure on such exhibitor, or by renting his pictures 
to either a school or a church. The exhibitor could not 
persuade such distributor to desist by telling him that he 
had no room for his pictures ; the distributor remained 
adamant. By allowing such exhibitor to book as many pic- 
tures from a distributor as he wants, he can satisfy all 
distributors. 

Abuses arising out of this proposal will, of course, be 
arbitrable ; but it will be well for the exhibitor representa- 
tives to gain such a concession at least for theatres that 
have no competition within a reasonable distance. And 
"reasonable distance" should not mean forty-five miles or 
thereabout. 

Incidentally, some trade papers, in reproducing this pro- 
posal, omitted the phrase, "to license such number on the 
sole ground that by reason," immediately after the word 
"refuses," in the third line. Film Daily reproduced it first, 
in its December 5 issue, and since those trade papers 
omitted the same number of words it is manifest that they 
copied it from that Film Daily, (not Boxofficc) . 

"5. Runs and Existing Customers: (A) Provided an 
exhibitor and a distributor can mutually agree upon terms, 
an exhibitor shall be able to obtain some run of a distribu- 
tor's pictures provided that each exhibitor's theatre is not 
of obsolete character, is in good condition and operates 
under a policy which is not destructive or which would not 
substantially affect the business of any other run of dis- 
tributor's pictures and further provided that such exhibitor 
is of good reputation as a theatre operator and financially 
responsible. Any dispute as to whether or not the exhibi- 
tor's theatre is of obsolete character, is in good condition, 
is operated under a policy which is destructive or which 
would substantially affect the business of any other run of 
distributor's pictures or whether or not the exhibitor is of 
good reputation as a theatre operator and is financially 
responsible, shall be determined by arbitration. 

"(B) Exhibitors have complained that distributors have 
licensed their product away from an existing customer to 
another exhibitor because such other exhibitor operates a 
circuit of theatres in the same or other situations and 
licenses the distributor's product for such circuit. 

"It is recognized that a distributor has the right to select 
its own customers and it is also recognized that a change 
of customers is sometimes a hardship to an existing cus- 
tomer, but that in order to be entitled to continue to receive 
consideration as a customer, the exhibitor should have sub- 
stantially performed his previous license agreements with 
distributor, maintain and operate his theatre in a modern 
and up-to-date manner and be financially responsible. 

"Having regard for these principles, product will not be 
licensed away from an existing customer to a new or an- 
other exhibitor for the sole reason that the new or other 
exhibitor is a customer of the distributor in the same or 
other situations and any dispute as to whether or not a dis- 
tributor has licensed its product away from an existing 
customer for the sole reason that such other exhibitor is a 
customer of the distributor in the same or other situations 
shall be determined by arbitration." 

This provision, too, could stand considerable clarification 
by rewriting. For instance, it says that, provided the exhibi- 
tor is "financially responsible," he can get some kind of run 
for his theatre. Responsible financially to whom ? Does it 
mean, "provided the exhibitor pays his bills"? If so, why 
doesn't the provision say so? If it should be left as it is, the 
exhibitor members of the negotiating committee would be 
lending themselves to the revival of the credit committees, 
which the courts have outlawed. Why should a group of 



distributors be interested in the financial standing of the 
exhibitor in his community so long as he pays his bills to 
any distributor he does business with? And why should such 
phraseology he necessary when the distributors send to the 
exhibitor (J.O.D. even posters? 

Another of the clarifications that the exhibitors should 
ask of the distributors is the phraseology, "Provided an 
exhibitor and a distributor can mutually agree upon terms." 
Does this mean that, when the distributor places on his 
product a high price so as to make an agreement impossible, 
such distributor's purpose being.to favor a competing affili- 
ated theatre, the exhibitor will have no right to appeal to 
the arbitration board for relief? If such is the case, the 
matter should be so stated, to enable the exhibitor-negotia- 
tors to determine whether to accept or reject this provision. 

"6. Short Subjects, Newsreels and Trailers: No exhibi- 
tor shall be required, as a condition of licensing feature 
motion pictures, to license short subjects, newsreels or 
trailers, but nothing herein shall be deemed to prohibit any 
effort by the distributor to license short subjects, newsreels 
and trailers." 

In view of the fact that a seller has at all times the right 
to make an effort to sell his product to a buyer, a right that 
is recognized in all democratic nations as lawful, the stipu- 
lation "but nothing herein shall be deemed to prohibit any 
effort by the distributor to license short subjects, newsreels 
and trailers" is not necessary and should be eliminated. 
Retention of this stipulation may lead to more abuse. The 
salesmen, for instance, may misinterprete its intent, and 
may try to bring pressure upon the exhibitor to buy the 
shorts, newsreels and trailers, and the exhibitor may be 
compelled to contract for them to get the features. The 
exhibitor representatives should insist upon the elimination 
of this sentence, or else require that controversies arising 
out of it be arbitrated. Let arbitration determine whether 
the exhibitor had been coerced or not. After all, arbitra- 
tion, if fair, should determine such controversies ; otherwise 
there will be no peace between exhibitors and distributors. 

"14. Box-Office Statements: The practice of rendering 
to a distributor false reports of the box-office receipts in 
respect of the exhibition of pictures the film rental of which 
is based in whole or in part upon a percentage of such 
receipts is condemned by exhibitors as well as by distribu- 
tors as a practice which not only results in loss of earned 
revenue to the distributors, but is also unfair and detri- 
mental to the business of honest exhibitors. Exhibitors will 
endeavor to discourage and eliminate such practice." 

This provision, if agreed upon by the exhibitor repre- 
sentatives, will cast a reflection upon every exhibitor, for 
it implies that the exhibitors, as a rule, render false box- 
office statements. The exhibitor representatives should re- 
fuse even to discuss such a matter, let alone agree upon it. 
If there are some exhibitors who, when allowed to show a 
percentage picture without the presence of a distributor 
representative, render inaccurate statements of their re- 
ceipts, it should be the good business judgment of the dis- 
tributor not to allow again such exhibitors to show a pic- 
ture of his under such conditions ; the distributor should 
have a representative check these exhibitors. To demand 
that the exhibitors acknowledge the existence of such a 
practice as common is to insult every exhibitor who makes 
a true statement of box-office receipts, and otherwise con- 
ducts himself as an honorable business man. 

The exhibitor representatives should refuse to deal with 
such a matter ; it is not in their province even to discuss it. 

The other proposals are not commented upon. 



RAY LEWIS TO DO THINGS IN CANADA 

Ray Lewis, editor and publisher of The Canadian Moving 
Picture Digest, was recently in New York, on a visit. She 
told the writer of the fight she has been having with Na- 
thanson, the big theatre and distribution magnate. 

Miss Lewis may appear as a "David" as compared with 
Nathanson, but she has a "sling" that may bring the Goliath 
down : she intends to lay her case directly before the public. 

In view of the fact that Miss Lewis is fighting a battle, 
not for herself, but for a woman-exhibitor whom, Miss 
Lewis feels, Mr. Nathanson has taken unfair advantage of, 
there is no doubt as to what the outcome of the fight will be. 

Harrison's Reports has often advocated that the ex- 
hibitors take their public into their confidence in any dispute 
arising between them and a theatre-owning producer. All 
the chances for a victory are in their favor. 



' T " IN TWO SECTIONS— SECTION TWO 

HARRISON' S REPORTS 

Vpl'-XXL- NEW YORK, N. Y., SATURDAY, JANUARY 7, 1939 No. 1 
( Semi-Annual Index — Second Half 1938 ) 



Title of Pictures Reviewed on Page 



Adventure in Sahara — Columbia (57 min.) 210 

Affairs of Annabel, The— RKO (67 min.) 119 

Alexander's Ragtime Band — 20th Century-Fox 

Algiers — United Artists (95 min.) 114 

Always Goodbye — 20th Century-Fox (74}/ min.) 106 

Always in Trouble — 20th Century-Fox (69 min.) 163 

Amazing Dr. Clitterhouse, The— 1st Nat'l. (86 min.) 115 

(105 min.) 123 

Angels with Dirty Faces — First Nat'l (97 min.) 179 

Annabel Takes a Tour— RKO (67 min.) 174 

Arkansas Traveler, The — Paramount (83 min.) 166 

Army Girl— Republic (87 min.) 119 

Arrest Bulldog Drummond — Paramount (56 min.) ...210 
Artists and Models Abroad — Paramount (94}/ min.) . .194 

Bar 20 Justice — Paramount (64}/ min.) Not Reviewed 

Barefoot Boy — Monogram (63 min.) 135 

Beachcomber, The — Paramount (90 min.) 207 

Block-heads— MGM (56 min.) 146 

Blondie — Columbia (72 min.) 186 

Booloo — Paramount (60 min.) 122 

Boy From Barnardo's, The— MGM (See "Lord Jeff") 107 

Boy Meets Girl — Warner Bros. (86 min.) 135 

Boys Town— MGM (93 min.) 151 

Breaking the Ice— RKO (82 min.) 146 

Broadway Musketeers — First National (62}/ min.) ..162 

Brother Rat— First National (88 min.) ....170 

Bulldog Drummond in Africa — Paramount (58 min.) 126 

Campus Confessions — Paramount (66 min.) 154 

Carefree— RKO (82 min.) 147 

Chaser, The— MGM (75 min.) 126 

Christmas Carol, A — MGM (69 min.) 206 

Cipher Bureau — Grand National (69}/ min.) 207 

Citadel, The— MGM (112 min.) 178 

City Streets — Columbia (68 min.) 106 

Colorado Trail, The — Columbia (55 min.) . .Not Reviewed 

Come on Leathernecks — Republic (65 min.) 143 

Comet over Broadway — First National (69 min.) 195 

Convicted — Columbia (54 min.) 142 

Cowboy and the Lady, The— United Artists (90 min.) .198 
Crime Over London — Gaumont-British (62 min.) ....130 

Crime Ring— RKO (69 min.) 106 

Crime Takes a Holiday — Columbia (59 min.) 158 

Crowd Roars, The— MGM (89^ min.) 131 

Danger on the Air — Universal (66 min.) 107 

Dangerous Secret — Grand National (58}/ min.) 178 

Dark Rapture — Universal (79;/ min.) 163 

Dawn Patrol — Warner Bros. (101 min.) 211 

Desert Patrol — Republic (56 min.) Not Reviewed 

Desperate Adventure, A — Republic (65 min.) 130 

Down in Arkansaw — Republic (65 min.) 171 

Down on the Farm — 20th Century-Fox (61 min.) ....174 

Dramatic School— MGM (80 min.) 202 

Drums — London Film-United Artists (96 min.) 127 

Duke of West Point— United Artists (109 min.) 211 

Exposed — Universal (63 min.) 187 

Fast Company — MGM (74 min.) 110 

Fast Play— Paramount (See "Campus Confessions") . 154 

Five of a Kind— 20th Century-Fox (85 min.) 170 

Flight to Fame — Columbia (57 min.) 186 

Flirting with Fate— MGM (68 min.) 210 

Four Daughters — First National (90 min.) 139 

Four's a Crowd — Warner Bros. (90 min.) 135 

Freshman Year — Universal (67 min.) 147 

Fugitives for a Night— RKO (62}/ min.) 143 

If I Were King— Paramount (100 min.) 162 

Illegal Traffic— Paramount (67 min.) 182 

I'll Give a Million— 20th Century -Fox (74 min.) 114 



I'm from the City— RKO (66 min.) 127 

I Stand Accused — Republic (63 min.) 179 

Gang Bullets — Monogram (61 min.) 202 

Gangster's Boy — Monogram (80 min.) 183 

Garden of the Moon — First National (92y 2 min.) 142 

Gateway — 20th Century-Fox (73 min.) 134 

Gay Imposters, The — Warner Bros. (See "Gold 

Diggers in Paris") 90 

Girls on Probation — First National (63 min.) 170 

Girls' School — Columbia (72 min.) 163 

Give Me a Sailor — Paramount (76 min.) 134 

Gladiator, The — Columbia (72 min.) 138 

Going Places — First National (83 min.) 211 

Gold Mine in the Sky — Republic (60 min.) .Not Reviewed 

Great Waltz, The— MGM (103 min.) 186 

Gun Smoke Trail — Monogram (56 min.) .. Not Reviewed 

Hard to Get— Warner Bros. (78 min.) 187 

Heart of the North— First National (82 min.) 206 

Held for Ransom — Grand Nat'l (59 min.) . .Not Reviewed 
Heroes of the Hills — Republic (55 min.) . . .Not Reviewed 

Higgins Family, The — Republic (64}/ min.) 151 

His Exciting Night — Universal (60 min.) 190 

Hold That Co-Ed— 20th Century-Fox (80 min.) 155 

I Am a Criminal — Monogram (73 min.) 199 

I Am the Law — Columbia (83 min.) 143 

I Command — Grand Nat'l (59 min.) N*ot Reviewed 

I Married a Spy: — Grand Nat'l (59 min.) .. Not Reviewed 

Just Around the Corner— 20th Cent.-Fox (69 l / 2 min.) .183 
Juvenile Court — Columbia (58 min.) 154 

Keep Smiling — 20th Century-Fox (77 min.) 123 

King of Alcatraz — Paramount (55 J-^ min.) 166 

Lady Objects, The — Columbia (65 min.) 159 

Lady Vanishes, The — Gaumont-British (91 min.) 171 

Last Express, The — Universal (62}/ min.) 171 

Last of the Cavalry, The — Republic 

(See "Army Girl") 119 

Last Warning, The — Universal (63 min.) 203 

Lawless Valley— RKO (58}/ min.) 182 

Law of the Plains — Columbia (56 min.) Not Reviewed 

Law West of Tombstone, The— RKO (73 min.) 191 

Letter of Introduction — Universal (102 min.) 127 

Listen Darling— MGM (74^ min.) 174 

Little Adventuress, The — Columbia (62 min.) 187 

Little Miss Broadway— 20th Century-Fox (71 m.) . . 115 

Little Orphan Annie — Paramount (57 min.) 202 

Little Tough Guy— Universal (82}/ min.) 114 

Little Tough Guys in Society — Universal (72 min.) 195 

Lord Jeff— MGM (84^ min.) 107 

Love Finds Andy Hardy— MGM (90 min.) 122 

Mad Miss Manton, The— RKO (79 min.) 166 

Man to Remember, A— RKO (78 min.) 166 

Man with 100 Faces— Gaumont-British (71 min.) 186 

Man's Country — Monogram (55 min.) Not Reviewed 

Marie Antoinette— MGM (157 min.) 138 

Mars Attacks the World— Universal (67y 2 min.) 182 

Meet the Girls— 20th Century-Fox (66 min.) 147 

Men with Wings — Paramount (105 min.) 178 

Missing Guest, The — Universal (67}/ min.) 138 

Mother Carey's Chickens— RKO (81J4 min.) 123 

Mr. Chump — Warner Bros. (60 min.) 123 

Mr. Doodle Kicks Off— RKO (77 min.) 155 

Mr. Wong, Detective — Monogram (68 min.) 175 

My Bill— First National (63}/ min.) 110 

My Lucky Star— 20th Century-Fox (84 min.) 147 

Mysterious Mr. Moto— 20th Century-Fox (62}/ min.). 151 

Nancy Drew, Detective — Warner Bros. (65 min.) 198 

Next Time I Marry, The— RKO (64 min.) 199 

Night Hawk, The— Republic (63 min.) 162 



One Woman's Answer — MGM (See "Woman 

Against Woman") « 106 

Orphans of the Street — Republic (64 min.) 203 

Outlaw Express — Universal (56 min.) Not Reviewed 

Out West with the Hardys — MGM (83 min.) 203 

Painted Desert— RKO (59 mia) 131 

Panamint's Bad Man— 20th Century-Fox (59 min.) .. Ill 

Passport Husband — 20th Century-Pox (67 min.) 111 

Peck's Bad Boy with the Circus— RKO (64 min.) 195 

Penrod's Double Trouble— First Nat'l. (60 min.) 114 

Personal Secretary — Universal (62 min.) ..159 

Phantom Gold — Columbia (56 min.) Not Reviewed 

Phantom Ranger — Monogram (53 min.) ... Not Reviewed 

Pioneer Trail — Columbia (55 min.) Not Reviewed 

Port of Seven Seas— MGM (80 min.) 118 

Pride of the West — Paramount (55 min.) ..Not Reviewed 

Prison Break — Universal (72 min.) 118 

Prison Train — Malcolm-Browne (65 min.) 190 

Professor Beware — Paramount (92 min.) 118 

Pygmalion— MGM (86 min.) 199 

Racket Busters — Warner Bros. (70 min.) 122 

Reformatory — Columbia (61 min.) 110 

Renegade Ranger— RKO (59 min.) 154 

Renfrew on the Great White Trail — 

Grand National (59 min.) Not Reviewed 

Rich Man, Poor Girl— MGM (71!^ min.) 139 

Ride a Crooked Mile — Paramount (77 min.) 202 

Riders of the Black Hill— Republic (55m) . .Not Reviewed 

Road Demon — 20th Century-Fox (70 min.) 175 

Road to Reno — Universal (68 min.) 150 

Rollin' Plains— Grand Nat'l (57 min.) Not Reviewed 

Romance and Rhythm — Warner (See "Cowboy from 

Brooklyn") 102 

Room Service— RKO (78 min.) 154 

Safety in Numbers— 20th Century-Fox (58 min.) 139 

Say It in French — Paramount (71 min.) 194 

Secrets of an Actress — First National (69J/2 min.) 150 

Secrets of a Nurse — Universal (74^ min.) 194 

Service DcLuxe — Universal (86 min.) 174 

Shadows over Shanghai— Grand Nat'l (64^ min.)... 178 

Sharpshooters — 20th Century-Fox (63 min.) 190 

Shining Hour, The — MGM (76 min.) 195 

Shopworn Angel — MGM (84 min.) 115 

Sing You Sinners — Paramount (89 min.) 134 

Sisters, The— Warner Bros. (98 min.) 167 

Six Shootin' Sheriff— Grand Nat'l (59m.) . .Not Reviewed 

Sixty Glorious Years— RKO (94^ min.) 194 

Sky Giant— RKO (80 min.) 119 

Smashing the Rackets— RKO (69 min.) 130 

Smashing the Spy Ring — Columbia (61 min.) 211 

Sons of the Legion — Paramount (61 min.) 155 

South of Arizona — Columbia (56 min.) Not Reviewed 

South Riding— United Artists (84 min.) Ill 

Spawn of the North — Paramount (109 min.) 142 

Speed to Burn— 20th Century-Fox (61 min.) 122 

Spring Madness— MGM (66jXmin.) 191 

Stablemates — MGM (89 min.) ..167 

Stagecoach Days — Columbia (58 min.) Not Reviewed 

Storm over Bengal — Republic (65 min.) 191 

Storm, The— Universal (76 min.) 179 

Straight, Place and Show — 20th Cent.-Fox (67 min.). 162 

Strange Boarders — Gaumont-British (71 min.) 155 

Strange Case of Dr. Mead, The — Columbia (67 min.) .206 

Strange Faces — Universal (66 min.) 187 

Submarine Patrol — 20th Century-Fox (94 min.) 182 

Suez— 20th Century-Fox (104 min.) 175 

Sweethearts— MGM (113 min.) 210 

Swing Sister Swing — Universal (67 min.) 207 

Swing That Cheer — Universal (62 min.) 175 

Tarnished Angel— RKO (68 min.) 179 

Tenth Avenue Kid — Republic (65 min.) 145 

Texans, The — Paramount (92 min.) 126 

Thanks for Everything— 20th Century-Fox (72 l / 2 m.).203 

Thanks for the Memory — Paramount (78 min.) 191 

That Army Touchdown — Paramount 

(See "Touchdown Army") 159 

That Certain Age— Universal (100 min.) 167 

There Goes My Heart— United Artists (83 min.) ....170 
There's That Woman Again — Columbia (73 min.) . . . .206 
They're Off— 20th Century-Fox 

(See "Straight, Place and Show") 162 

Three Blind Mice— 20th Century-Fox (75 min.).... 107 

Three Loves Has Nancy — MGM (68 min.) 150 

Time Out For Murder— 20th Century-Fox (59 min.) . .131 



Too Hot to Handle— MGM (105 min.) 158 

Torchy Gets Her Man — Warner Bros. (62 mia) 183 

Touchdown Army — Paramount (70 mia) 159 

Tropic Holiday — Paramount (78 min.) Ill 

Two Gun Justice — Monogram (57 min.) . . .Not Reviewed 

Unconventional Lady — Columbia (See "Holiday").. 91 

Under the Big Top — Monogram (63 mia) 151 

Up the River— 20th Century-Fox (76 mia) 190 

Utah Trail, The — Grand Nat'l (59 min.) . . .Not Reviewed 

Vacation from Love — MGM (65 mia) 167 

Valley of the Giants — Warner Bros. (83 mia) 146 

Watrted by the Police — Monogram (59 mia) 158 

We're Going to Be Rich — 20th Century-Fox (78 min.) 110 

Western Trails — Universal (57 min.) Not Reviewed 

West of Cheyenne — Columbia (53 min.) . . . .Not Reviewed 
While New York Sleeps— 20th Century-Fox (61 mia). 198 
Whirlwind Horsemen — Grand Nat'l (58m.) .Not Reviewed 
Woman Against Woman — MGM (60 min.) 106 

You Can't Take It With You— Columbia ( 127 min.) . . .150 

Young Dr. Kildare— MGM (81 min) 171 

Young Fugitives — Universal (68 min.) 107 

Young in Heart, The— United Artists (90 min.) 183 

Youth Takes a Fling — Universal (77 mia) 163 



RELEASE SCHEDULE FOR FEATURES 
Columbia Features 

(729 Seventh Ave., New York, N. Y.) 

Flight to Fame— Farrell- Wells Oct. 12 

The Little Adventuress — Fellows Oct. 24 

In Early Arizona — All Star western (53m.). Nov. 2 

Adventure in Sahara — Kelly-Gray Nov. 15 

Blondie — Singleton- Lake Nov. 30 

The Terror of Tiny Town — Midgets Dec. 1 

Rio Grande— Starrett (59 min.) Dec. 8 

The Strange Case of Dr. Mead — Holt Dec. 15 

There's That Woman Again — Douglas Dec. 24 

Smashing the Spy Ring (International Spy) — 

Wray-Bellamy Dec. 29 

North of Shanghai — Furness-Craig Jan. 5 

The Thundering West — Starrett Jan. 12 

Frontiers of '49 — All Star western Jan. 19 

Lone Wolf's Daughter — William-Lupino Jan. 27 

Texas Stampede — Starrett Feb. 9 

Homicide Bureau — Cabot-Hayworth Feb. 15 



9026 
9020 
9211 
9028 
9011 
9050 
9202 
9022 



9203 
9212 

9204 



First National Features 

(321 W. 44th St., New York, N. Y.) 

369 Girls on Probation — Reagan-Bryan Oct. 22 

355 Brother Rat— Morris-P. Lane-Wyman Oct. 29 

351 Angels with Dirty Faces — Cagney (reset) ...Nov. 24 

370 Comet over Broadway — Francis-Hunter Dec. 3 

362 Heart of the North — Foran-Dickson Dec. 10 

Going Places — Powell-Louise-Huber Dec. 31 



Gaumont-British Features 

(1600 Broadway, New York, N. Y.) 

Climbing High — J. Matthews-M. Redgrave Dec. 1 

(Hereafter all Gaumont-British pictures will be released 
through Twentieth Ccnttiry-Fox) 



Grand National Features 

(1501 Broadway, New York, N. Y.) 
Beginning of 1938-39 Season 

311 Shadows over Shanghai — Dunn-R. Morgan . . .Oct. 14 

325 Frontier Scout — G. Houston-B. Marion (61m) .Oct. 21 

326 Titans of the Deep — (2 versions, one running 

47 min. and the other 38 min.) Oct. 28 

312 Cipher Bureau — L. Ames-J. Woodbury Nov. 4 

345 The Sunset Murder Case (The Sunset Strip 

Case) — Sally Rand (57 min.) Nov. 11 

The Long Shot — Jones-Hunt Jan. 6 

Water Rustlers — Dorothy Page Jan. 6 

Trigger Pals — Jarrett-Powell Jan. 14 

Exile Express — Anna Sten Jan. 20 

Ride 'Em Cowgirl — Dorothy Page Jan. 20 



Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Features 

(1540 Broadivay, New York, N. Y.) 

904 Listen Darling — Garland-Bartholomew Oct. 21 

909 The Citadel— Donat-Russell-Richardson Oct. 28 

908 The Great Waltz — Rainer-Gravat-Korjus ...Nov. 4 

911 Spring Madness — O'Sullivan-Ayres-Hussey .Nov. 11 

912 The Shining Hour— Crawford- Sullavan Nov. 18 

913 Out West with the Hardys — Rooney-Stone . . .Nov. 25 

914 Flirting with Fate — Joe E. Brown Dec. 2 

915 Dramatic School — Rainer-Marshal-Goddard .Dec. 9 

917 A Christmas Carol — Owen-Kilburn (re.) Dec. 16 

916 The Girl Downstairs (Katherine the Last) — 

Gaal-Tone-Connolly (reset) Dec. 23 

910 Sweethearts — MacDonald-Eddy-F. Morgan ..Dec. 30 

918 Stand Up and Fight — Taylor-Beery-Rice Jan. 6 

919 Burn 'Em Up O'Connor— O'Keefe-Parker . . . Jan. 13 

920 Idiot's Delight— Gable- Shearer Jan. 20 



Monogram Features 

(1270 Sixth Ave., New York, N. Y.) 

3860 Where the Buffalo Roam— Ritter (62 min.) . .Oct. 12 
3801 Gangster's Boy — Jackie Cooper Nov. 9 

3851 Gun Packer— Jack Randall (49m.) (reset) .. Nov. 16 

3818 Gang Bullets— Anne Nagel (reset) Nov. 23 

3861 Song of the Buckaroo (Little Tenderfoot) — 

Tex Ritter (56 min.) Nov. 23 

3812 I Am a Criminal — J. Carroll (reset) Dec. 14 

3852 Wild Horse Canyon (Last Outlaw) — Jack 

Randall (50 min.) Dec. 21 

3819 Tough Kid— Frankie Darro (reset) Dec. 28 

Convict's Code — Nagel-R. Kent Jan. 11 

Drifting Westward — Jack Randall Jan. 25 

Sundown on the Prairie — Tex Ritter Feb. 1 

Navy Secrets — Wray-Withers Feb. 8 



Paramount Features 

(1501 Broadzwy, New York, N. Y.) 

3807 Mysterious Rider— Dumbrille-Fields (72m.) .Oct. 21 

3808 Men with Wings — MacMurray Oct. Special 

3809 Illegal Traffic— Naish-Carlisle Nov. 4 

3810 If I were King — Colman-Dee-Rathbone Nov. 11 

3811 Thanks for the Memory — Hope-Ross Nov. 18 

3812 Arrest Bulldog Drummond — Howard-Angel. Nov. 25 

3813 Say It in French— Bradna-Milland Nov. 25 

3814 Little Orphan Annie— Gillis-Kent Dec. 2 

3815 Ride a Crooked Mile — Tamiroff-Farmer ....Dec. 9 
3856 The Frontiersman — Boyd-Hayes (73 l / 2 m.) . .Dec. 16 

3816 Tom Sawyer, Detective — O'Connor-Cook Dec. 23 

3817 Artists and Models Abroad— Benny Dec. 30 

King of Chinatown — Wong-Tamiroff-Naish. .Jan. 6 

Zaza — Colbert-Marshall-Lahr Jan. 13 

Disbarred — Patrick-Kruger-Preston Jan. 20 

Ambush — Swarthout-Nolan-Henry Jan. 20 

Paris Honeymoon — Crosby-Gaal-Tamiroff ..Jan. 27 

St. Louis Blues — Nolan-Lamour-Ralph Feb. 3 

One Third of a Nation — Sidney-Erikson (re). Feb. 10 



Republic Features 

(1776 Broadivay, Nezv York, N. Y.) 

806 I Stand Accused — Cummings-Mack-Talbot ...Oct. 28 

807 Storm over Bengal — P. Knowles-Cromwell . . Nov. 14 

863 Santa Fe Stampede — Three Mesq. (56 min.) . . Nov. 18 

818 Come On Rangers — Rogers-Hart (58 min.) ..Nov. 25 
841 Western Jamboree — Autry (56 min.) Dec. 2 

819 Orphans of the Street — Livingston-Ryan Dec. 5 

864 Red River Range— Three Mesq. (56 min.) ...Dec. 22 
852 Shine On Harvest Moon— Rogers-Hart (57m). Dec. 23 

Federal Man Hunt — Livingston-Travis (64m). Dec. 26 



RKO Features 

(1270 Sixth Ave., New York, N. Y.) 

906 The Mad Miss Manton— Stanwyck-Fonda Oct. 21 

907 Tarnished Angel— Filers Oct. 28 

981 Lawless Valley — George O'Brien Nov 4 

908 Annabel Takes a Tour— Ball-Oakie Nov. 11 

909 The Law West of Tombstone— H. Carey .... Nov. 18 
948 Peck's Bad Boy with the Circus— Kelly Nov. 25 

910 Next Time I Marry— Ball-Ellison Dec 9 



Twentieth Century-Fox Features 



(444 w. S6th St., New York, N. Y.) 

913 Suez— Power- Young-Annabella Oct. 28 

914 Always in Trouble — Withers Nov. 4 

915 Just Around the Corner — Temple Nov. 11 

916 Sharpshooters — Donlevy-Bari Nov. 18 

909 Submarine Patrol — Greene- Kelly Nov. 25 

918 Road Demon — Arthur-Valerie- Armetta Dec. 2 

924 Up the River — Martin-Brooks-Foster Dec. 9 

920 Down on the Farm — Jed Prouty Dec. 16 

917 Thanks for Everything — Menjou-Oakie Dec. 23 

923 Kentucky — Young-Greene-Brennan Dec. 30 

922 While New York Sleeps — Whalen-Rogers Jan. 6 

928 Charlie Chan in Honolulu — Toler-Brooks Jan. 13 

926 Mr. Moto's Last Warning — Lorre-Cortez Jan. 20 

933 Smiling Along — Fields-Maguire-Livesey Jan. 20 

921 Jesse James — Power-Fonda-Kelly Jan. 27 

929 The Arizona Wildcat— Withers-Carrillo Feb. 3 

925 Tail Spin— Faye-C. Bennett-Kelly-Farrell . . . Feb. 10 

927 The Three Musketeers — Ameche-Ritz Bros. ..Feb. 17 



United Artists Features 

(729 Seventh Ave., Neiv York, N. Y.) 

The Young in Heart — Gaynor-Fairbanks, Jr Oct. 27 

The Cowboy and the Lady — Cooper-Oberon Nov. 17 

Trade Winds — March-J. Bennett-Sothern Dec. 22 

The Duke of West Point— T. Brown-Hayward Dec. 29 

Topper Takes a Trip — C. Bennett-Young-Burke ..Jan. 12 



Universal Features 

(1250 Sixth Ave., New York, N. Y.) 

A3052 Guilty Trail— Bob Baker (57 min.) Oct. 21 

A3013 Service DeLuxe— C. Bennett-Price Oct. 21 

A3016 The Storm— Bickford-MacLane-Grey Oct. 28 

A3028 The Last Express— K. Taylor-D. Kent ....Oct. 28 

A3032 Exposed — Farrell-Kruger Nov. 4 

A3053 Prairie Justice — Bob Baker (57 min.) Nov. 4 

A3036 His Exciting Night — Ruggles-Munson Nov. 11 

A3042 Mars Attacks the World— (67H min.) ...Nov. 18 

A3011 Little Tough Guys in Society — Boland Nov. 25 

A3035 Strange Faces — Kent-Jenks (reset) Dec. 2 

A3022 Secrets of a Nurse — Lowe-Mack (reset) ..Dec. 9 
A3054 Ghost Town Riders— Bob Baker (54 min.) .Dec. 16 



A3021 Swing Sister Swing — Murray-Downs-Kane.Dec. 16 
Newsboys' Home — J. Cooper-W. Barrie 

(73 min.) Dec. 23 

A3027 The Last Warning — Foster-Jenks (reset) . .Jan. 6 
Son of Frankenstein — Karloff-Rathbone ...Jan. 13 
A3055 Honor of the West— Bob Baker (58 min.) . Jan. 13 

Gambling Ship — Wilcox-Mack Jan. 20 

Pirates of the Skies — K. Taylor (reset) ...Feb. 3 
You Can't Cheat an Honest Man — 
W. C. Fields-Bergen Feb. 17 



Warner Bros. Features 

(321 IV. 44th St., New York, N. Y.) 

302 The Sisters — Flynn-Davis-Louise Oct. 15 

310 Hard to Get— Powell-DeHavilland Nov. 5 

318 Torchy Gets Her Man — Farrell-MacLane ...Nov. 12 

319 Nancy Drew, Detective — Granville-Litel Nov. 26 

The Dawn Patrol — Flynn-Rathbone-Niven . . . Dec. 24 

Devil's Island — Karloff-Harrigan Jan. 7 

Thev Made Me a Criminal — Garfield-Rains . . Jan. 14 

Off the Record— O'Brien-Blondell Jan. 21 

King of the Underworld — Bogart-Francis Jan. 28 



SHORT SUBJECT RELEASE SCHEDULE 
Columbia — One Reel 

9503 Little Moth's Big Flame— Color Rhap. (8m.) Nov. 3 

9802 Ski Rhythm— Sport Thrills (9^m.) Nov. 4 

9652 Community Sing No. 2 — (10£<m.) Nov. 4 

9551 Bermuda, Islands of Paradise — Tours 

(10K> min.) Nov. 4 

9752 Happv Birthday — Scrappys (6m.) Nov. 17 

9552 Provincial Quebec— Tours (lO^rn.) Nov. 18 

9901 Washington Parade— Issue 81 (10m.) Nov. IS 

9853 Screen Snapshots No. 3— (9j4m.) Nov. 20 

9504 Midnight Frolics— Color Rhapsody (7$-Sm.) .Nov. 24 



9653 Community Sing No. 3— (lO^m.) Dec. 2 

9703 The Lone Mountic— Krazy Kat (6^m.) ....Dec. 10 

9854 Screen Snapshots No. 4 — (9^m.) Dec. 15 

9505 The Kangaroo Kid — Color Rhapsody Dec. 23 

9803 King Vulture— Sport Thrills Dec. 23 

9654 Community Sing No. 4—(\0'/ 2 m.) Dec. 30 

9804 Get Ready Navy— Sport Thrills Jan. 6 

9902 Washington Parade — Issue #2 Jan. 6 

9855 Screen Snapshots No. 5 Jan. 6 

9753 Scrappy's Added Attraction — Scrappys Jan. 13 

9506 Peaceful Neighbors — Color Rhapsody Jan. 26 

9704 Krazy's Bear Tale — Krazy Kat Jan. 27 

9655 Community Sing No. 5— (9Hm.) J an. 27 

(9553 "Dig Town," listed in the last Index as a December 2 
release, has been withdrawn) 

Columbia — Two Reels 

9125 Shoot to Kill— Spider #5 (17m.) Nov. 18 

9126 Scaled Lips— Spider 86 (16^m.) Nov. 25 

9127 Shadows of the Night— Spider 87 (16^m.) . .Dec. 2 

9403 Flat Foot Stooges (Three Goofy Gobs) — 

Stooge (15J-4 min.) (reset) Dec. 5 

9128 While the City Sleeps— Spider Jt8 (16^m.) . .Dec. 9 

9426 Home on the Rage— All Star (17m.) Dec. 9 

9129 Doomed— Spider 89 (17m.) Dec. 16 

9130 Flaming Danger— Spider 810 (17m.) Dec. 23 

9427 Pica la Maid— All Star (18m.) Dec. 23 

9131 Road to Peril— Spider 811 (16m.) Dec. 30 

9132 The Spider Falls— Spider 812 (15m.) Jan. 6 

9404 Three Little Sew and Sews — Stooge (16m.) . .Jan. 6 

9133 The Man Hunt— Spider 813 (16m.) Jan. 13 

9134 The Double Cross— Spider 814 (17^m.) ...Jan. 20 

9428 Swing You Swingers— All Star (19^m.) ...Jan. 20 

9135 The Octopus Unmasked— Spider 815 ( 15m.) Jan. 27 

Challenge in the Sky — Flying G-Men 81 Jan. 28 

Flight of the Condemned — Flying G-Men 82. . Feb. 4 

9429 Mutiny on the Body— All Star comedy Feb. 10 



Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer — One Reel 

1937- 38 Season 

S-715 Grid Rules— Pete Smith (10m.) Oct. 15 

W-692 The Captain's Christmas — Capt. Cartoon 

technicolor (8 min.) Dec. 17 

{one more to come) 

1938- 39 Season 

F-952 Opening Day — Robert Benchley (9m.) .. . .Nov. 12 
M-874 Miracle of Salt Lake — Miniatures (11m.). Nov. 12 

C-933 Football Romeo— Our Gang (10m.) Nov. 12 

S-902 Man's Greatest Friend— P. Smith (10m.) . .Nov. 19 
T-854 Sydney, Pride of Australia— Travel. (9m.). Dec. 3 

F-953 Mental Poise— Benchley (7m.) Dec. 10 

S-903 Penny's Picnic— Pete Smith (tech) (10m.). Dec. 17 

C-934 Practical Jokers — Our Gang (9m.) Dec. 17 

T-855 Singapore and Jahore — Traveltalk (9m.) . . .Dec. 31 

Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer — Two Reels 

Beginning of 1938-39 Season 

R-801 Men of Steel— Musicals (21m.) Dec. 17 

P-811 The Wrong Way Out — Crime Doesn't Pay 

(17 min.) Dec. 24 

R-802 Once Over Lightly— Musicals Dec. 31 



V8-4 
E8-4 
R8-5 
T8-4 
A8-5 
L8-3 
K8-3 
P8-5 
V8-5 
R8-6 
T8-5 

E8-5 
C8-3 
A8-6 
P8-6 
J8-3 



Paramount — One Reel 

Raising Canines — Paragraphic (9^m.) Nov. 11 

A Date to Skate — Popeye cart. (7m.) Nov. 18 

Super-Athletes — Sportlight (9^m.) Nov. 25 

On with the New — Betty Boop (6m.) (re.) ..Dec. 2 
Hal Kemp and His Orchestra — Head. (9m.) .Dec. 2 

Unusual Occupations 83 — (10m.) Dec. 2 

Costa Rica — Color Cruises (9m.) Dec. 2 

Paramount Pictorial 85— (8>lm.) Dec. 9 

Oh Say, Can You Ski— Para. (10^m.) . . . .Dec. 16 

Frolicking Frogs — Sportlight (9M>m.) Dec. 23 

Pudgy in Thrills and Chills — B. Boop 

(S>/ 2 min.) (reset) Dec. 23 

Cops Is Always Right — Popeye (7m.) Dec. 30 

Always Kickin' — Color Classic Jan. 6 

A Song Is Born — Headliner (9j^m.) Jan. 6 

Paramount Pictorial 86 Jan. 6 

Popular Science 83 Jan. 6 



RKO — One Reel 

94303 Bird Dogs — Sportscope (10m.) Nov. 4 

94603 Dude Ranch— Reelism (9m.) Nov. 11 

94204 Venetian Moonlight— Nu Atlas (11m.) Nov. 25 

94104 Ferdinand the Bull— Disney (8m.) Nov. 25 

94304 Blue Grass — Sportscope (10m.) Dec. 2 

94105 Merbabies— Disney (9m.) Dec. 9 

94604 Newsreel— Reelism (10m.) Dec. 9 

94205 Cafe Rendezvous— Nu Atlas (10m.) Dec. 23 

94106 Mother Goose Goes Hollywood — Disney 

(8 min.) Dec. 23 

94305 On the Wing— Sportscope— (10m.) Dec. 30 

RKO — Two Reels 

93104 March of Time— (18m.) Nov. 25 

93402 A Clean Sweep— E. Kennedy (17m.) Dec. 2 

93502 Prairie Papas— Ray Whitley (18m.) Dec. 16 

93105 March of Time— (18m.) Dec. 23 

93602 Romancing Along — Headliner (21m.) Dec. 30 



9202 
9522 
9102 
9504 
9301 
9505 
9204 
9523 
9402 
9506 
9203 
9524 
9602 
9507 



Twentieth Century-Fox — One Reel 

Filming Big Thrills— Adv. Cam. (9^m.) . . .Sept. 30 
The Glass Slipper — Terry-Toon (6^m.) ....Oct. 7 
Land of Contentment — L. Thomas (lOj^m.) . .Oct. 14 
The New Comer — Terry-Toon (6^m.) ....Oct. 21 

Timber Toppers — Sports (lO^rn.) Oct. 28 

The Stranger Rides Again — T.-Toon (7m.). Nov. 4 

Athletic Oddities— Adv. Cam. (9m.) Nov. 11 

Housewife Herman — Terry-Toon (6^m.) . . Nov. 18 
What Every Girl Should Know — Lehr (11). Nov. 25 
Village Blacksmith — Terry-Toon (6^4m.) . . .Dec. 2 

Daily Diet of Danger — Adv. Cam. (9m.) Dec. 9 

Gandy Goose in Doomsday — Terry-Toon . . . .Dec. 16 

Fashion Forecasts Dec. 23 

Gandy Goose in the Frame Up — Toon (6j^m).Dec. 30 



A 3366 
A3242 
A3243 
A 3354 
A 3368 
A3244 
A3355 
A3368 
A3245 
A3356 
A3246 
A3369 
A3247 
A3357 
A3248 

A3225 
A3690 
A 3691 
A3692 
A3693 
A3226 
A3781 

A3782 
A3783 



Universal — One Reel 
1938-39 Season 

Stranger Than Fiction 855— (9y 2 m.) Oct. 10 

Rabbit Hunt — Lantz cartoon (7m.) Oct. 17 

The Sailor Mouse — Lantz cartoon (7m.) ..Nov. 7 
Going Places with Thomas 856 — ( 10m.) . . . Nov. 14 

Stranger Than Fiction 857 — (9m.) Dec. 5 

Disobedient Mouse — Lantz cartoon (8m.) . .Nov. 28 
Going Places with Thomas 857— (8j^m.) . .Nov. 28 

Stranger Than Fiction 857 (9m.) Dec. 5 

Baby Kittens — Lantz cartoon (8m.) Dec. 19 

Going Places with Thomas 858 — (9m.) ...Dec. 26 
Little Blue Blackbird— Lantz cart. (7m.) . .Dec. 26 

Stranger Than Fiction 858 — (9m.) Jan. 2 

Crack Pot Cruise — Lantz cartoon Jan. 9 

Going Places with Thomas 859 Jan. 16 

Soup to Muts — Lantz cartoon (7m.) Jan. 23 

Universal — Two Reels 

Music and Models — Mentone (18m.) Dec. 14 

The False Trail— Barry 810 (20m.) Dec. 20 

Heavy Odds— Barry 811 (19m.) Dec. 27 

The Enemy Within — Barry 812 (19m.) Jan. 3 

Mission of Mercy— Barry 813 (20m.) Jan. 10 

Nautical Knights — Mentone (19m.) Jan. 11 

Death Rides the Air — Scouts to the Rescue 

81 (20 min.) Jan. 17 

Avalanche of Doom — Scouts 82 (22m.) . . . Jan. 24 
Trapped by Indians — Scouts 83 (21m.) Jan. 31 



Vitaphone — One Reel 

4804 The Daffy Doc— Looney Tunes (7m.) Nov. 26 

4604 Nature's Mimics— Color Parade (10m.) Dec. 3 

4506 Daffy Duck in Hollywood— Mer. Mel. (8m.) .Dec. 3 

4705 Happy Felton & Orch.— Mel. Mast. (10m.).. Dec. 3 

4304 Treacherous Waters — True Adv. (10m.) Dec. 10 

4904 Robbin' Good— Vit. Varieties (10m.) Dec. 10 

4805 Porky the Gob— Looney Tunes (8m.) Dec. 17 

4507 Count Me Out— Merrie Melodies (7m.) Dec. 17 

4706 Dave Apollon & Orch.— Mel. Mast. (11m.) .. Dec. 24 

4508 The Mice Will Play— Mer. Melodies (7m.). Dec. 31 

4605 Mechanix Illustrated 82 — Color Parade Dec. 31 

Vitaphone — Two Reels 

4014 Cleaning Up— Cross & Dunn (17m.) Nov. 12 

4002 Declaration of Independence — Technicolor 

Prod. (18 min.) Nov. 26 

4015 Stardust— Benny Davis (18m.) Dec. 10 

4016 Boarder Trouble— Joe Asbestos (19m.) Dec. 17 

4017 Hats and Dogs— Wini Shaw (18m.) Dec. 31 

4003 Swingtime in the Movies — Tech. Pro. (20m.). Jan. 7 

4018 Spare Parts — Bway. Brevities Jan. 21 



NEWSWEEKLY 
NEW YORK 
RELEASE DATES 
Universal 



733 


Wednesday 


• 


734 


Saturday . . 


735 


Wednesday 


..Jan. 11 


736 


Saturday . . 


.Jan. 14 


737 


Wednesday 


..Jan. 18 


738 


Saturday . . 


..Jan. 21 


739 


Wednesday 


..Jan. 25 


740 


Saturday . . 


..Jan. 28 


741 


Wednesday 


..Feb. 1 


742 


Saturday . . 


..Feb. 4 


743 


Wednesday 


..Feb. 8 


744 


Saturday . . 


..Feb. 11 



Fox Movietone 

33 Wednesday ...Jan. 4 

34 Saturday Jan. 7 

35 Wednesday . . Jan. 11 

36 Saturday Jan. 14 

37 Wednesday ...Jan. 18 

38 Saturday Jan. 21 

39 Wednesday . . Jan. 25 

40 Saturday Jan. 28 

41 Wednesday ...Feb. 1 

42 Saturday Feb. 4 

43 Wednesday ...Feb. 8 

44 Saturday Feb. 11 



Paramount News 

44 Wednesday ...Jan. 4 

45 Saturday Jan. 7 

46 Wednesday . . . T ag. 1 1 

47 Saturday 

48 Wednesday ...J:nWs 

49 Saturday Jan. 21 

50 Wednesday ...Jan. 25 

51 Saturday Jan. 28 

52 Wednesday ...Feb. 1 

53 Saturday Feb. 4 

54 Wednesday . . . Feb. 8 

55 Saturday Feb. 11 



Metrotone 

231 Wednesday 

232 Saturday . 

233 Wednesday 

234 Saturday . 

235 Wednesday 

236 Saturday . 

237 Wednesday 

238 Saturday . 

239 Wednesday 

240 Saturday .. 

241 Wednesday 

242 Saturday . . 



News 

..Jan. 4 
..Jan. 7 
..Jan. 11 
.Jan. 14 
..Jan. 18 
..Jan. 21 
. Jan. 25 
. Jan. 28 
..Feb. 1 
..Feb. 4 
..Feb. 8 
..Feb. 11 



Pathe News 



95248 
95149 
95250 
95151 
95252 
95153 
95254 
95155 
95256 
95157 
95258 
95159 



Wed. 

Sat. 

Wed. 

Sat. 

Wed. 

Sat. 

Wed. 

Sat. 

Wed. 

Sat. 

Wed. 

Sat. 



(E.). 
(O.). 
(E.) . 
(O.). 
(E.). 
(O.). 
(E.). 
(O.). 

(E.). 
(O.).. 

(E.). 
(O.).. 



Jan. 4 
Jan. 7 
Jan. 11 
Jan. 14 
Jan. 18 

Jan. 28 
Feb. 1 
Feb. 4 
Feb. 8 
Feb. 11 



Entered as second-class matter January 4, 1921, at the post office at New York, New Tork, under the act of March 3, 1879. 

Harrison's Reports 

Yearly Subscription Rates: 1270 SIXTH AVENUE Published Weekly by 

United States $15.00 p 1 Q1 Harrison's Reports, Inc., 

U. S. Insular Possessions. 16.50 - ROOItl lOl^ Publisher 

Canada 16 - 50 New York, N. Y. p. s. Harrison, Editor 

Mexico, Cuba, Spain 16.50 . „ . „ , . „ . 

Great Britain 15 75 A Motion Picture Reviewing Service 

Australia, New Zealand,' Devoted Chiefly to the Interests of the Exhibitors Established July 1, 1919 

India, Europe, Asia 17.50 

n Pnnv Its Editorial Policy: No Problem Too Big for Its Editorial Circle 7-4622 

PJ Columns, if It is to Benefit the Exhibitor. 

A REVIEWING SERVICE FREE FROM THE INFLUENCE OF FILM ADVERTISING 

Vol. XXI SATURDAY, JANUARY 14, 1939 No. 2 



AN OPEN LETTER TO THE ALLIED 
STATES BOARD OF DIRECTORS 

Gentlemen : 

You are about to convene in Washington to discuss the 
memorandum that has been submitted to your negotiating 
committee by the producers as a basis for settling the 
exhibitor-producer disputes that have kept the industry in 
a turmoil. 

Your responsibility is, indeed, heavy, particularly because 
your action may affect, (a) the Government suit, (b) the 
Neely Bill, and (c) the North Dakota Theatre Divorce 
Measure case. 

An analysis of the producer memorandum in the Decem- 
ber 24 and 31, and in the January 7 issues of this paper lias 
disclosed that what has been offered to the exhibitors is so 
little that, in the opinion of many exhibitors, it is not worth 
even discussing. Some of the offers have been so framed as 
to make the memorandum seem to be a Magna Carta for 
the producers rather than a list of concessions for the 
exhibitors. 

For instance, Proposal No. 13 requires you to accept the 
principle that, regardless of what understanding you may 
reach with the producers, their right to build or acquire 
theatres shall in no way be either abridged or curtailed. 
This would, indeed, have a serious consequence were you 
to accept it on behalf of the exhibitors. 

It is hardly necessary for me to call your attention to 
how little is offered by the other proposals ; all that I wish 
to say is this : you have battled for more than ten years and 
you have finally arrived at a point where relief is in sight. 
The Federal Government has brought against the produ- 
cers a suit intended to effect a divorcement of exhibition 
from production-distribution. The passage of the Neely 
Bill through the Senate, and the favorable sentiment of a 
majority of the members of the House of Representatives 
toward this measure, is proof that block booking can be 
eliminated by legislation. And the enactment of the North 
Dakota Theatre Divorce Law is an indication that, should 
the U. S. Supreme Court uphold this law, theatre divorce- 
ment can be brought about not only by Federal action, but 
also by state legislation. Consequently, unless the producers 
come forward, not with half-measures, but with real con- 
cessions, it will be your duty to reject them, letting matters 
take their natural course. Methods of doing business are 
undergoing great changes ; it is no longer a case of "pro- 
prietary rights," but one of "human rights." This is the 
slogan of the United States Government, and it must be- 
come the slogan of the motion picture industry. 

Very sincerely yours, 

P. S. Harrison. 



THREE CHEERS FOR MARTIN QUIGLEY 

Under the heading, "What the Industry Faces in 1939," 
Mr. Martin Quigley, Editor-in-Chief and Publisher of 
Motion Picture Herald, published in the December 17 issue 
of that paper of his an editorial which is so constructive that 
Harrison's Reports has felt obliged to call it to the atten- 
tion of the readers of this publication, for it believes that 
the case of the exhibitor could not have been defended 
more effectively. 

Lack of space necessitates the reproduction of only the 
salient parts of that editorial. 

"Little doubt remains," says Mr. Quigley, "that the 
American picture industry will face a variety of thorough- 



going changes during the coming year. Out of the changes 
that are in prospect there is hope of a better business. This 
is fortunately so because the recent trend has been almost 
evenly in the wrong direction. 

"Looming large on the horizon is the government suit, 
the outcome of which, despite the perverse or studied in- 
difference of many in the industry, is almost certain to have 
a profound effect on the business and its future operation. 
There is naturally a devotion to the status quo on the part 
of its beneficiaries even though there must be few who are 
prepared to admit satisfaction over the present condition in 
industry affairs. It perhaps cannot be demonstrated in 
advance that extensive alteration in industry procedure will 
increase the general prosperity. But if the year 1938 may 
be taken as the fruition of existing policies, something in 
the way of experimentation for the future seems in order. 

"The product situation and the accompanying question of 
costs admits of almost innumerable explanations, but one 
that inevitably bids for attention is the iron-ring status, that 
condition under which new people and new ideas are not 
necessarily excluded. But their admission depends not upon 
what they may show in a competitive test, but, rather, upon 
their good fortune and right connections useful in pene- 
trating the wall which has been created to keep the insiders 
in and the outsiders out. . . . 

"When the public stays away it is because of a particular 
poor picture which is presented currently. . . . Release date 
requirements, inability of the theatre to book a better at- 
traction, a picture contracted for sight unseen—all these 
and others may serve to explain how the poor picture got 
into the theatre. But they afford little satisfaction to the 
public which after paying the admission price has not been 
entertained. . . . 

"There is, naturally enough, much speculation on the 
economic results of the condition of bureaucratic operation 
which has come to characterize various activities of the 
business. Distributors, in some instances, by virtue of their 
power to dictate time and conditions of exhibition under- 
take, in effect, to run theatres, frequently against the ex- 
perienced judgment of the actual operators. If these many 
intricate and involved arrangements proved to be materially 
advantageous to the distributor, there would be that much, 
at least, to be said in their favor. But it becomes frequently 
the case that, while an advantage to the distributor is 
sought, none actually is gained. And the exhibitor, curbed 
and handicapped in taking the line his judgment dictates, 
finds his chance of sustaining profitable operation dimin- 
ished week by week. This and similar conditions are not 
matters which half-way measures are likely to correct. A 
new concept as to what constitutes healthy and construc- 
tive trade practices is needed. 

"The disappearance of the old order of spirited merchan- 
dising of the motion picture to the public is well exemplified 
in certain of the large theatre circuits where the procedure 
has become as humdrum and routine as that of a railroad 
office. Here may be seen applied in its full bloom the adage 
— so beloved by banker and bookkeeper — that a dollar saved 
is a dollar earned. Advertising budgets have been pruned 
to the vanishing point, the process meanwhile pleasing 
highly its sponsors who are so rapturously immersed in 
expense curtailment tabulations that they fail to compre- 
hend the import of the figures which trace the descending 
line in attendance. 

"The motion picture as a public attraction has lost many 
of its early, unique advantages. Radio is not an ally. It is a 
competitor of formidable proportions. What was once the 
magic of the motion picture has come to be commonplace.... 
{Continued on last page) 



6 



HARRISON'S REPORTS 



January 14, 1939 



"Tough Kid" with Frankie Darro, 
Dick Purcell and Judith Allen 

(Monogram, December 28; time, 59 min.) 
A fairly good program melodrama, suitable mostly for 
neighborhood theatres. Frankie Darro is a standout in the 
part of the young brother who idolizes and watches over his 
older brother (Dick Purcell), a pugilist; he wins one's 
sympathy by his honesty and efforts to do the right thing. 
The bouts are exciting ; and, for once, a novel touch has 
been injected, by having the hero lose the title bout. Inci- 
dentally, one is held in tense suspense during this bout, 
because of one's desire to see the hero win. Human appeal, 
romance, and slight comedy touches are combined with the 
melodrama : — 

When Darro hears that Purcell (his brother) had signed 
up with Don Rowan to manage him, he is discouraged, for 
he had heard that Rowan was crooked ; this, he felt, might 
ruin his brother's career. Rowan arranges for Purcell to 
fight the champion. A certain gambler (William Ruhl), 
having bet a large sum of money against Purcell, tries to 
induce him to throw the fight ; but he refuses. When Ruhl 
learns that Purcell's fiancee (Judith Allen), who sang at 
his night club, was not well, he pretends to show concern 
over her health and induces Purcell to take her to the office 
of a famous doctor. Through a trick, he has his own hench- 
man pretend to be the doctor ; they lead Purcell to believe 
that Miss Allen was very sick and that she had to go out 
West. Being unable to obtain the money for her care, 
Purcell agrees to throw the fight for $1,00U. Ruhl arranges 
to send Miss Allen away, but really makes her his prisoner. 
Darro finds out about the trick ; but the gamblers prevent 
him from getting to his brother. He manages to escape, but 
it is too late, for by the time he gets to the arena Purcell 
had lost the fight. With the information Darro had ob- 
tained, Purcell is able to have the gang arrested. He rescues 
Miss Allen, and then marries her. 

Brenda Weisberg wrote the story, and Wellyn Totman, 
the screen play ; Howard Bretherton directed it, and 
Lindsley Parsons produced it. In the cast are Lillian Elliott, 
Lew Kelly, Ralph Peters, and others. 

Not for children. Class B. 



"Devil's Island" with Boris Karloff 

(Warner Bros., January 7 ; time, 62 mm.) 
A grim melodrama. The sordid surroundings and scenes 
of suffering by the men imprisoned on the island tend to 
depress the spectator. It is unpleasant also in other respects 
— in characterizations, as well as in the actions of some of 
the characters. And the story in itself is somewhat arti- 
ficial. One feels pity for the hero, an innocent victim of 
political intrigue, who, when placed on the island, suffers 
intensely, both physically and mentally ; but this is not 
enough to hold one's interest. There is no romance : — 

Tried as a traitor because he, a doctor, had operated on a 
revolutionist who had been shot, Boris Karloff, an eminent 
surgeon, is sentenced to imprisonment on Devil's Island. 
The hard work and cruel treatment break his spirit. When 
one of the prisoners dies, a group of prisoners, led by 
Karloff, revolt. In the fight that follows one of the guards 
is killed. Karloff and several other prisoners are sentenced 
to death. The commander (James Stephenson) offers to 
spare Karloff's life and the lives of the other prisoners if 
he would operate on his child, who had met with an acci- 
dent. Karloff performs the operation and saves the child, 
but Stephenson goes back on his word. Karloff and a few 
others escape, but are caught and taken back. Stephenson's 
wife (Nedda Harrigan), knowing that Karloff would be 
killed because he knew too much about Stephenson's 
crooked work on the island, rushes to the Governor for 
help. He and the newly appointed Minister rush to the 
island in time to save Karloff's life. The Minister brings 
Karloff the happy news that he had been pardoned. Ste- 
phenson is arrested. Under Karloff's supervision, a new 
regime governs the island ; the prisoners are promised help 
and consideration. Miss Harrigan leaves the island with 
her child. 

Anthony Coldeway wrote the story, and Don Ryan and 
Ken Garnet, the screen play. William Clemens directed it, 
and Bryan Foy produced it. In the cast are Rolla Gourvich, 
Tom Wilson, Egon Brecher, and others. 

Not for children. Class B. 



"Smiling Along" with Gracie Fields 

(2i)th Century-Vox, January 20; time, 92 min.) 

Just a mildly entertaining comedy, with only slight ap- 
peal for American audiences. The story is trite, the situa- 
tions silly, and the accents too "thick." Not only does the 
plot lack originality, but it moves along at a slow pace, at 
times tiring the spectator. Although Miss Fields works 
hard, she does not make the picture entertaining. It is 
doubtful if it will draw at the box-olfice, for, unlike "We're 
Going to Be Rich," which had Victor McLaglen and Brian 
Donlevy assisting Miss Fields, there are no players of box- 
office value here : — 

A troupe, headed by Miss Fields, lose their booking at a 
music hall because of an argument Miss Fields had with 
the manager who was cheating them. They find themselves 
unable to earn any money. Miss Fields, feeling responsible 
for their plight, invites them all to her grandfather's farm ; 
but their presence so irritates him that he orders them to 
leave. Just when things look really bad, they become ac- 
quainted with a famous pianist, whose dog they had found. 
He falls in love with Mary Maguire, a member of the 
troupe, and promises to help them by appearing with them. 
Their former manager tries to stop them by kidnapping the 
pianist ; but he escapes in time to make an appearance and 
thus assure the troupe's success. Feeling secure with a two 
year contract, Miss Maguire and the pianist marry. And 
Miss Fields and her assistant (Roger Livesey), who had 
been in love for a long time, decide to marry. 

Sanda Farago and Alexander Kenedi wrote the story, 
and William Conselman, the screen play ; Monty Banks di- 
rected it, and Robert T. Kane produced it. In the cast are 
Peter Coke, Jack Donahue, Hay Hetrie, and others. 

Suitability, Class A. 



"Stand Up and Fight" with Robert Taylor, 
Wallace Beery and Florence Rice 

(MGM, January 6; time, 96 min.) 

A very good outdoor action melodrama, with romance 
and comedy. It is different from anything that Robert 
Taylor has appeared in, which is to his advantage, for it 
gives him an opportunity to appear in a real "he-man" part. 
Men in particular should be thrilled, for the story offers 
opportunities for plentiful action and thrilling situations. 
Two fist fights between Wallace Beery and Robert Taylor 
are standouts ; there are also other fights and fast horseback 
riding. The story, although it can be classified as a Western, 
is superior to the ordinary outdoor picture, for it revolves 
around an interesting era in American history ; moreover, 
the production values are very good. The romance is of 
importance, being the motivating force in the hero's regen- 
eration. The story takes place during the period when the 
Baltimore and Ohio started building its railroad : — 

Taylor, an impoverished Southern gentleman, goes West 
to start all over again. He gets into a fight during a poker 
game and is thrown into jail. Beery, who had been instru- 
mental in sending him there, offers to bail him out on con- 
dition that he w T ork off the fine by driving one of his freight 
stagecoaches. Taylor refuses, demanding to see Beery's 
employer. To his surprise, the owner turns out to be Flor- 
ence Rice, whom he had known in better times, and with 
whom he had quarreled. She offers to let him go, but he 
refuses, preferring to work out the fine as Beery, her man- 
ager, had demanded. Taylor suspects Beery of using the 
company's coaches for slave-running ; his suspicions are 
confirmed when he finds one of his old slaves held a pris- 
oner. He helps him to escape, but later finds the man mur- 
dered. Taylor, acting for the railroad company, gets the 
facts together and presents them to the government ; this 
involves Miss Rice. Not having known anything about the 
slave running, she suspects Taylor of trying to ruin her 
company in order to help the railroad; but she learns the 
truth, and forgives him. The slave-running leaders are 
caught, and Miss Rice is cleared. Taylor, who, by this 
time, had learned to like Beery, saves him. Miss Rice turns 
over her stagecoach line to Beery, in order to marry 
Taylor, who had taken a job as railroad traffic manager. 

Forbes Parkhill wrote the story, and James H. Cain, 
Jane Murfin, and Harvey Ferguson, the screen play ; 
W. S. VanDyke, II, directed it, and Mervyn LcRoy pro- 
duced it. In the cast are Helen Broderick, Charles Bickford, 
Barton MacLane, Charley Grapewin, John Qualen, Robert 
Glecklcr, and others. 

Suitability, Class A. 



January 14, 1939 



HARRISON'S REPORTS 



7 



"Federal Man Hunt" with Robert Livingston 
and June Travis 

(Republic, December 26; time, 63 min.) 

A fairly good program gangster melodrama, well directed 
and acted. It has fast action, exciting situations, and a 
pretty interesting story. The fact that the heroine becomes 
involved innocently with the gangsters holds one in sus- 
pense, since her life is endangered thereby. Towards the 
end, the action becomes rather thrilling. The romance is 
developed in a believable way : — 

June Travis, believing John Gallaudet to be innocent of 
the charges of having stolen his firm's payroll, arrives at 
the prison to marry him; but just before the ceremony 
begins he escapes. After questioning by the police, Miss 
Travis is permitted to leave. She goes to a hideout to meet 
Gallaudet. He sends her to get a parcel he had checked at 
a railroad station, without telling her it contained the pay- 
roll money he had actually stolen. Acccording to his in- 
structions, she starts out on a trip, arranged by Gallaudet 
and his henchmen, which was to take her to a place where 
he would be waiting for her. She had to travel by a private 
car in which there are several other passengers. One of the 
passengers is Robert Livingston, a private detective, who 
was checking up on the racket of unlicensed private cars 
taking passengers for fare across country. On the way, the 
driver picks up Gallaudet, who warns the passengers to be 
quiet. Miss Travis soon learns the bitter truth — that Gal- 
laudet was really a criminal ; Livingston, too, finds this out. 
The driver stops at a hideout, where the other passengers 
are forced to stay. Eventually Livingston, through a ruse, 
attracts the police to the house. Gallaudet and the gang are 
caught; Miss Travis turns the money over to the police. 
Her name is cleared ; she and Livingston look forward to 
happier times together. 

Sam Fuller and William Lively wrote the story, and 
Maxwell Shane, the screen play; Nick Grinde directed it, 
and Armand Schaefer produced it. In the cast are Ben 
Welden, Horace MacMahon, Charles Halton, and others. 

Not for children. Suitability, Class B. 



"Charlie Chan in Honolulu" with Sidney 
Toler, Phyllis Brooks and John King 

(20th Century-Fox, January 13; time, 67 min.) 

A pretty good program murder-mystery melodrama. 
Considering that this is Sidney Toler's first appearance in 
the part of Chan, he does fairly well ; it may be that in time, 
he will overcome the handicap of impersonating the role the 
late Warner Oland played so well. There is plentiful 
comedy ; the laughter is provoked by the attempts of two of 
Chan's sons to follow in their father's footsteps, and by 
Eddie Collins, an excitable keeper of lions. The story holds 
one's interest throughout, and keeps one guessing as to the 
murderer's identity ; it turns out that he is the one least 
suspected : — 

While Toler is at the hospital awaiting the birth of his 
first grandchild, his young son receives a telephone message 
from the Police Department requesting that Toler go to a 
ship that had just docked, to investigate a murder which 
had been committed aboard. The young son, knowing that 
his older brother was eager to prove to their father that he 
could make a good detective, suggests that they go to the 
ship and work on the case. The older son tries to act tough, 
but he is frightened ; he is happy when his father finally 
arrives. During the investigation another passenger is mur- 
dered. Phyllis Brooks, who had been carrying $300,000 in 
cash, given to her by her firm to be turned over to a client, 
is suspected, because, the first victim having been the client 
and the second victim his wife, it was thought that she had 
killed them so as to keep the money for herself. But Toler 
proves that the murders had been committed by Robert 
Barrat, the Captain, who wanted the money for himself. 
Just as Toler completes the case, he receives the good news 
that his grandson had been born. 

Charles Beldcn wrote the original screen play, H. Bruce 
Humberstone directed it, and John Stone produced it. In 
the cast are Sen Young, Claire Dodd, George Zucco, and 
others. 

The murders make it unsuitable for children. Class B. 



"Zaza" with Claudette Colbert 
and Herbert Marshall 

(Paramount, January 13 ; time, 84 min.) 
The production values are excellent and Miss Claudette 
Colbert's acting highly artistic, but the story creaks with 
age. What may have been considered a great emotional 
drama years ago strikes one today as being silly. The ro- 
mantic complications, involving a sacrifice on the heroine's 
part, may appeal to older women, but it is doubtful if young 
folk will be touched by it. One or two situations touch one's 
emotions, but this is due mainly to the appealing way in 
which they are played. Bert Lahr turns from comedy to a 
straight dramatic part and is quite good at it ; as a matter 
of fact he is the most sympathetic character. Herbert Mar- 
shall is at a definite disadvantage, for the character he por- 
trays is unpleasant : — 

Miss Colbert, a performer in a French music hall, is 
groomed by her partner (Lahr) for stardom. But she 
loses all interest in her career when she meets Marshall, a 
staid business man, who succumbs to her charms. They 
become lovers. When she learns that he was married, she 
is at first enraged and then becomes heartbroken. But she 
refuses to give him up ; instead, she decides to pay him an 
unexpected visit at his home and, in the presence of his wife, 
demand that he choose between them. Her plans are 
changed, however, when she meets his child, an adorable 
girl, who takes a liking to her. When Marshall's wife ar- 
rives, Claudette pretends that she had entered the wrong 
apartment. Lahr, her only real friend, consoles her and 
induces her to give up Marshall and continue with her 
career. She does so, and in time she becomes a famous star, 
appearing in Paris. Four years later, Marshall calls to see 
her at the theatre, but she tearfully sends him away. 

The plot was adapted from the play by Pierre Berton 
and Charles Simon ; Zoe Akins wrote the screen play, 
George Cukor directed it, and Albert Lewis produced it. 
In the cast are Helen Westley, Constance Collier, Gene- 
vieve Tobin, Walter Catlett, Rex O'Malley, and others. 

Not suitable for children. Class B. 

"Newsboys' Home" with Jackie Cooper, 
Wendy Barrie and Edmund Lowe 

(Universal, December 23 ; time, 72 min.) 
A fairly good melodrama. It should go over well with 
audiences who are not concerned about lack of logic in a 
plot as long as there is fast and exciting action throughout. 
They will not be disappointed on that score, for there is 
plentiful action, which, towards the end, becomes very ex- 
citing. In addition to the melodrama, the story offers com- 
edy and a mildly pleasant romance. Jackie Cooper gives his 
usual good performance, winning one's sympathy : — 

Heartbroken at the death of his father, a small-town 
Sheriff, who had been shot by an escaping gangster, Jackie 
decides to go to the city in search of the criminal, whom he 
had seen. Being without funds, he goes to a newsboys' home 
founded by the publisher of a large newspaper, where he is 
given food and shelter. He decides to sell papers ; in a 
short time he becomes the leader. When the publisher dies, 
his daughter (Wendy Barrie) takes over his job. Her 
stubbornness in refusing to listen to advice from Edmund 
Lowe, the managing editor with whom she was in love, is 
disastrous for the paper ; its circulation drops and the ad- 
vertisers withdraw their accounts. The newsboys' home is 
closed and all the boys, with the exception of Jackie and 
one other, go over to the rival paper. In a quarrel with 
Miss Barrie, Lowe resigns. Eventually Miss Barrie sees 
the error of her ways and begs Lowe to return ; things start 
humming, and in a short time the paper's circulation rises. 
The rival newspaper publisher (Irving Pichel) engages a 
gangster to start trouble for Miss Barrie. In a fight that 
follows one of the newsboys is shot. Jackie recognizes the 
gangster as the one who had killed his father. He is instru- 
mental in having him and the other gangsters rounded up. 
The newsboys' home is reopened, much to the joy of the 
boys, who return to it. Miss Barrie marries Lowe. 

Charles Grayson and Gordon Kahn wrote the story, and 
Gordon Kahn, the screen play ; Harold Young directed it, 
and Ken Goldsmith produced it. In the cast are Edward 
Norris, Samuel Hinds, Elisha Cook, Jr., and others. 

Suitability, Class A. 



8 



HARRISON'S REPORTS 



January 14, 1939 



"On Broadway the show that fails to satisfy the public 
demand is quickly and decisively hauled to the storehouse. 
But the early wise men of the industry, foolish in their 
wisdom, sought and succeeded in contriving a system that 
serves to perpetuate the picture that has failed in its enter- 
tainment purpose. This has proved to be a disastrous ac- 
complishment which in these latter years has brought about 
increasingly adverse results. . . . 

"No matter how intelligently conceived and executed, all 
pictures undertaken cannot be expected to turn out to be 
sterling attractions. But under prevailing conditions the 
good pictures do not obtain the revenue to which they are 
entitled. The poor ones obtain too much, however little that 
may be. In addition, the failures serve to break the theatre- 
going habit, to cause the public to wonder what has hap- 
pened to pictures as they pass on in search of entertainment 
elsewhere. . . . 

"The argument that unless the indifferent films are dis- 
tributed and allowed to collect some revenue the better 
productions would be prohibitive in cost is unconvincing. 
A production company succeeds or fails on the basis of 
total revenues collected against the total costs of produc- 
tion. It is immaterial whether a stated volume of revenue is 
obtained out of twenty-five pictures or out of thirty pic- 
tures. If a program of thirty pictures costs $15,000,000, the 
producer's situation is better and not worse if he recoups 
his costs through the distribution of only twenty-five instead 
of the whole thirty pictures because he has saved the costs 
of distribution. The automatic rejection at the source of 
pictures which unquestionably are below acceptable stand- 
ards would confer a great benefit on the public and on the 
exhibitor and at the same time would inevitably lead to an 
enhancement of the reputation of the motion picture. Ad- 
mittedly, however, such a policy would not serve to monop- 
olize screen time to the exclusion of other product. . . . 

"The coining year, for reasons referred to and others, is 
likely to become a turning point in motion picture industry 
affairs. The present procedure if kept prosaically intact 
promises only a postponement of a serious day of reckoning. 
There are now, and have been for some time, danger signals 
all along the right of way. The great question which 1939 
proposes is whether out of the vast store of accumulated 
knowledge and experience the industry in its several com- 
ponent parts will determinedly set itself to the task of 
recapturing that spirit of enterprise and progress out of 
which its greatness was born. ..." 



BOX-OFFICE PERFORMANCES OF 
1938-39 SEASON'S PICTURES— No. 1 

In the issue of October 15, 1938, appeared the last of the 
fifth series of articles giving the box-office performances of 
the 1937-38 season's pictures. When that issue was pub- 
lished, some of the 1937-38 season's pictures either had not 
been released or had not played in a sufficient number of 
theatres to make possible an accurate report of their box- 
office performances. As a result, they were omitted from 
those articles. 

The present series of articles, although relating to the 
box-office performances of the 1938-39 season's pictures, 
will include the check-up also of those of the 1937-38 sea- 
son's pictures not reported up to the October 15 issue. 
They will be identified properly as belonging to the 1937-38 
season, under the names of the companies releasing them. 

Columbia 

1937-38 

"The Gladiator," with Joe E. Brown and June Travis, 
produced by David L. Loew and directed by Edward Sedg- 
wick, from a screen play by Arthur Sheekman : Good-Fair. 

"Convicted," with Charles Quigley and Rita Hayworth, 
directed by Leon Barsha, from a screen play by Edgar 
Edwards : Poor. 

"Phantom Gold," with Jack Luden and Beth Marion, 
directed by Joseph Levering, from a screen play by Nate 
Gatzert : Fair-Poor. 

"I Am the Law," with Edward G. Robinson, Wendy 
Barrie, and John Beal, produced by Everett Riskin and 
directed by Alexander Hall, from a screen play by Jo 
Swerling: Good. 

"The Colorado Trail," with Charles Starrett and Iris 
Meredith, directed by Sam Nelson, from a screen play by 
Charles S. Royal : Fair-Poor. 

"The Lady Objects," with Gloria Stuart, Lanny Ross, 
and Joan Marsh, produced by William Perlberg and di- 



rected by Erie Kenton, from a screen play by Gladys Leh- 
man and Charles Kenyon : Fair-Poor. 

"Juvenile Court," with Paul Kelly, Rita Hayworth, and 
Frankie Darro, directed by U. Ross Lederman, from a 
screen play by Michael L. Simmons, Robert E. Kent, and 
Henry Taylor : Fair. 

"The Stranger from Arizona," with Buck Jones and 
Dorothy Fay, produced by Monroe Shaff and directed by 
Elmer Clifton, from a screen play by Monroe Shaff : Fair- 
Poor. 

"Girls' School," with Anne Shirley, Nan Grey, Ralph 
Bellamy, and Noah Beery, Jr., produced by Sam Marx and 
directed by John Brahm, from a screen play by Tess Slcs- 
inger and Richard Sherman : Good-Fair. 

"Law of the Texan," with Buck Jones and Dorothy Fay, 
produced by Monroe Shaff and directed by Elmer Clifton, 
from a screen play by Monroe Shaff and Arthur Hoerl : 
Fair-Poor. 

"California Frontier," with Buck Jones and Carmen 
Bailey, produced by Monroe Shaff and directed by Elmer 
Clifton, from a screen play by Monroe Shaff and Arthur 
Hoerl : Fair-Poor. 

Fifty-nine pictures, including Westerns, have been re- 
leased. Grouping the pictures of the different ratings from 
the beginning of the season, we get the following results : 

Excellent, 2 ; Very Good-Good, 1 ; Very Good-Poor, 1 ; 
Good, 1; Good-Fair, 6; Good- Poor, 4; Fair, 12; Fair- 
Poor, 28 ; Poor, 4. 

Thirty-eight pictures, excluding Westerns, were released 
during the 1936-37 season ; they were rated as follows : 

Excellent, 1 ; Very Good, 1 ; Very Good-Good, 1 ; Good, 
4; Good-Fair, 4; Good-Poor, 1; Fair, 5; Fair-Poor, 13; 
Poor, 8. 

1938-39 

"You Can't Take It with You," with Lionel Barrymorc, 
Jean Arthur, James Stewart, Spring Byington, and Samuel 
Hinds, produced and directed by Frank Capra, from the 
screen play by Robert Riskin : Excellent. 

"West of Santa Fe," with Charles Starrett and Iris 
Meredith, directed by Sam Nelson, from a screen play by 
Bennett R. Cohen : Fair-Poor. 

"Crime Takes a Holiday," with Jack Holt and Marcia 
Ralston, produced by Larry Darmour and directed by 
Lewis D. Collins, from a screen play by Henry Altimus, 
Jefferson Parker, and Charles Logue : Fair. 

"Flight to Fame," with Charles Farrell, Jacqueline 
Wells, and Jason Robards, directed by C. C. Coleman, Jr., 
from a screen play by Michael L. Simmons: Fair. 

"The Little Adventuress," with Edith Fellows, Jacque- 
line Wells, Richard Fiske, and Cliff Edwards, directed by 
D. Ross Lederman, from a screen play by Michael L. 
Simmons : Fair-Poor. 

Five pictures have already been released. Grouping the 
pictures of the different ratings from the beginning of the 
season, we get the following results : 

Excellent, 1 ; Fair, 2 ; Fair-Poor, 2. 

The first five pictures in the 1937-38 season were rated 
as follows : 

Excellent, 1 ; Good-Poor, 1 ; Fair, 1 ; Fair-Poor, 2. 



SOMETHING TO THINK ABOUT 

In the Foreword of the book, "High Pressure : What It 
Is Doing to My Town and My Neighbors," Mr. Jesse 
Rainsford Jones, the author, says partly the following: 

"... the time is past when business can be allowed so 
much freedom without disastrous consequences. In this 
book I have tried to show what can happen in a typical 
American community as a result of allowing business an 
excess of freedom. . . . We Americans don't have the sense 
of security that we used to have. . . . We can't have the old 
sense of security until something is done to curb the Amer- 
ican practice of high-powered salesmanship." 

The United States Government seems to be imbued with 
the same theory about the motion picture industry. Hence 
the suit it has brought against the producers — to curb the 
excess freedom they have so far had in using high-powered 
salesmanship tactics against the weak. 



Entered as second-class matter January 4, 1921, at the post office at New York, New York, under the act of March 3, 1879. 



Harrison's Reports 

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ooc a. copy Columns, if It is to Benefit the Exhibitor. 

A REVIEWING SERVICE FREE FROM THE INFLUENCE OF FILM ADVERTISING 

Vol. XXI SATURDAY, JANUARY 21, 1939 No. 3 



NATIONAL SCREEN SERVICE DOING 
GREAT PATRIOTIC WORK 

Inspired by a speech on tolerance and patriotism made by 
Mr. Karl Hoblitzelle at the dinner which he and Mr. Bob 
O'Donnell, his associate, gave to Mr. Ned Depinet, in 
Dallas, early last year, Mr. Herman Robbins, of National 
Screen Service, suggested to Messrs. Hoblitzelle and 
O'Donnell, that the beautiful sentiments expressed by Mr. 
Hoblitzelle in that speech be translated into a trailer, to be 
shown at the theatres of their circuit, Interstate Circuit of 
Texas. 

Messrs. Hoblitzelle and O'Donnell liked the idea and a 
trailer was decided upon to be based on the National An- 
them, "The Star Spangled Banner." 

The showing of that trailer in the theatres of the circuit 
proved so successful that Mr. Robbins felt that this and two 
other trailers, entitled "Constitution" and "The Bill of 
Rights," be produced and sold outright to any exhibitor 
who wanted them, at cost. 

National Screen Service has now ready for sale trailers 
of "The Star Spangled Banner." Its length is 118 feet, 36 
feet being in technicolor. 

The charge for this trailer is $3.54. This cost does not 
include studio recording, art work, text research, film 
editing and distribution ; it covers only the cost of the raw 
stock and of printing. 

In view of the fact that the trailers become your prop- 
erty upon purchase, I suggest that you buy all three. There 
are many occasions on which you could show them to good 
advantage. "Star Spangled Banner," which is the only one 
ready just now, is not only inspiring, but also highly artis- 
tic. And I am sure that the other two will be as artistic 
as well as inspiring ; they will be ready for delivery shortly. 

Harrison's Reports takes great pleasure in commending 
National Screen Service for its forethought. 



THE TRUTHS MR. QUIGLEY SAID IN 
HIS DECEMBER 16 EDITORIAL 

What Mr. Quigley actually said in his December 16 
editorial, the salient parts of which were reproduced in last 
week's issue of this publication, is this : 

(1) The motion picture industry will "face a variety of 
thoroughgoing changes this year." 

(2) Despite the studied indifference of the producers, 
the Government suit will have a great influence upon the 
method of doing business in the industry. 

(3) New "blood" in the production end of the industry 
is not admitted so easily now ; the penetration of the wall 
the present heads there have built around production so 
as to keep themselves in and the "outsiders out" depends, 
not on ability, but on good fortune and "right connections." 

(4) Explanations of why a theatre shows a bad picture 
give little satisfaction to those who pay their money to the 
box offices to be entertained. 

(5) The producers, although they have all the advan- 
tages of obtaining the best pictures available, arc not suc- 
cessful theatre operators. 

(6) Theatre operation by producer employees has be- 
come a humdrum and routine procedure — just like (hat of 
railroads. Their main thought is how to save money in the 
operation of tbe theatres, not how to get more money. In 



line with this thought, they are doing as little advertising 
as they can, whereas advertising should be done with a 
"vengeance." Such a step might spoil the pleasure of those 
who prepare tabulations of expense curtailment but it will 
bring in dollars. 

(7) Radio is not an ally of the motion picture but a 
competitor of formidable proportions. 

(8) If a stage show on Broadway fails to make good, 
it is "hauled to the storehouse," and there pickled ; whereas 
the moving picture producers have succeeded in contriv- 
ing a system whereby "failures" are "perpetuated." This 
system has made and is making the industry "pay." 

(9) Under the present system, good pictures do not bring 
in the money they can bring, and the poor pictures, by 
being kept on the board, are given a chance they are not 
entitled to be given. This has dissatisfied the public and 
has caused it to look for good entertainment elsewhere. 

(10) The argument that unless the poor pictures are 
given a chance to bring in some revenue the industry will 
go bankrupt is not convincing. What is the difference 
whether the income is derived from twenty-five pictures 
or from thirty, as long as the full income is derived? It 
should be more profitable if it were derived from twenty- 
five, because it would save the distribution cost of the five 
pictures that are not worth showing. "The automatic rejec- 
tion" of poor pictures "at the source . . . would confer a 
great benefit on the public and on the exhibitor," and would 
add prestige to motion pictures. But such a policy would 
not perhaps be acceptable to the present holders of the 
"monopoly," because it would give a chance to the meri- 
torious pictures of others. 

(11) If the producers should insist upon continuing the 
present system, they merely delay the day of reckoning, 
but they will not be able to prevent its arrival. "There are 
now, and have been for some time, danger signals all along 
the right of way." The only question is whether the pro- 
ducers will be wise enough to see it or not. 

Wise statements, I'll say! 



20th CENTURY-FOX TO DISTRIBUTE 
GAUMONT-BRITISH PICTURES 

On December 12, Twentieth Century-Fox took over the 
sales of Gaumont-British pictures. 

The exhibitors of the United States know, I am sure, 
that Twentieth Century-Fox has a substantial interest in 
the Gaumont-British company of Great Britain. By taking 
over the sales of this company's pictures, Twentieth Cen- 
tury-Fox merely accommodates a partner. 

Some exhibitors have expressed the fear that the Twen- 
tieth Century-Fox salesmen may attempt to compel an 
exhibitor to buy these pictures in addition to the pictures 
of their own company, but Harrison's Reports doubts 
whether these fears arc justified; Sidney Kent is too smart 
to permit them to resort to such a practice. 

But in view of the fact that Mr. Kent cannot be present 
during the negotiations of exhibitors with salesmen to pre- 
vent the salesmen from possibly employing high-pressure 
sales methods, Harrison's Reports suggests to the Allied 
members of the negotiating committee, in the event that 
the negotiations were resumed, to insist that in the final 
agreement there be included a provision dealing with for- 
eign pictures. 



10 HARRISON'S REPORTS January 21, 1939 



"The Great Man Votes" with John Barry- 
more, Virginia Weidler and Peter Holden 

(RKO, Jan. 13; time, 71 min.) 

An excellent and, in some ways, unusual picture. For 
one thing, the story is completely off the beaten path ; and 
yet, it has the ingredients for mass appeal in that it has 
deep human interest, unusual comedy, and exceptionally 
good performances. The direction, too, is outstanding ; it 
seems as if RKO has uncovered a director of great talent 
in Garson Kanin, for he has showed ability also in another 
picture — "A Man To Remember." "The Great Man Votes" 
is the type of picture that has something in it for all types 
of audiences for, in addition to its human quality, the story 
development is intelligent, and the dialogue brilliant. Sev- 
eral situations touch one's heartstrings. The closing scenes, 
in which John Barrymore makes a speech, are the most 
touching. The romantic interest is minimized : — 

To his children (Virginia Weidler and Peter Holden), 
John Barrymore was the most marvelous person in the 
world. They felt sure that, had their mother lived, he, a 
Harvard graduate, would have been a great man and not 
a night watchman ; but her death had broken his spirit and 
he had taken to drink. Since he had small regard for the 
public school system his children were compelled to at- 
tend, he instructs them on his own. Both children were so 
remarkably intelligent, that they surprised their new teacher 
(Katherine Alexander) by their knowledge. She pays a 
visit to Barrymore and is unhappy to find so brilliant a 
man doing menial work. When it is discovered that Barry- 
more was the only voter in a certain district, Donald Mac- 
Bride, ward boss, pays him a visit to try to induce him to 
vote for his man, candidate for Mayor. But Barrymore, 
who had been enraged when MacBride had caused him to 
lose his job because little Virginia had given MacBride's 
son a black eye, makes demands. Urged on by his children, 
he asks for the important position of School Commissioner 
in return for his vote ; MacBride promises it. In the 
meantime, his wife's relatives try to take the children away 
from Barrymore. But when he rides victorious to the polls, 
at the head of a parade, with a written promise from the 
Mayor assuring him of the position, the relatives give up 
their demands. Barrymore is indeed a happy man, for he 
had proved to his children that he was a great man. Miss 
Alexander shares his joy. 

Gordon M. Hillman wrote the story, and John Twist, 
the screen play ; Cliff Reid produced it. In the cast are 
Bennie Bartlett, Elizabeth Risdon, and others. 

Suitability, Class A. 



"Arizona Legion" with George O'Brien 

(RKO, Jan. 20 ; time, 58 min.) 

This is George O'Brien's best western to date. His fans 
are in for a treat, for the story gives him many opportu- 
nities to exhibit his skill as a horseback rider and a fighter. 
Despite a routine plot, one's attention is held throughout, 
for the action is fast and the situations exciting. The photog- 
raphy is very good, particularly in the outdoor scenes. 
Romance and comedy are interpolated without interfering 
with the action : — 

George O'Brien, a former ranch owner who had sold his 
cattle and was squandering his money on drink and gam- 
bling, becomes friendly with a gang of outlaws. His hancee 
(Laraine Johnson), heartbroken, breaks their engagement. 
Unknown to everyone but to Miss Johnson's father, a 
Judge, O'Brien had been given official permission by the 
governor to organize a squad to be known as "Arizona 
Rangers," which he was to head in an effort to stop the 
lawlessness in the town. O'Brien, still pretending to be 
one of the outlaws, helps them hold up a stagecoach that 
carried federal funds. He and his pal are caught, along with 
two of the outlaws, and thrown into jail. Through them 
he learns the name of the leader. In an interview with his 
former pal (Tim Holt), an Army lieutenant, O'Brien tells 
him the facts, but Holt refuses to believe he was an officer. 
Holt unwittingly turns the information over to the leader, 
who was none other than the town Commissioner. O'Rrien 
and his pal, however, manage to escape and, with the help 
of their Rangers and the subsequent arrival of the Army 
men, are able to overpower the gang, recover the money 
they had stolen, and establish law and order. Miss Johnson 
is happy to take back her engagement ring. 

Bernard McConville wrote the story, and Oliver Drake, 
the screen play ; David Howard directed it, and Bert Gil- 
roy produced it. In the cast are Carlyle Moore, Chill Wills, 
Tom Chatterton, and others. 

Since the bravery of the hero is stressed, it is suitable for 
children. Suitability, Class A. 



"Disbarred" with Gail Patrick, 
Otto Kruger and Robert Preston 

(Paramount, Jan 20; time, 59 min.) 
Fair program entertainment. In spite of the fact that the 
plot is far-fetched, it should please those who enjoy racket- 
eer melodramas, for what it lacks in plausibility is made up 
for in fast action. One's attention is held pretty well, par- 
ticularly in the second half, wlien the heroine unwittingly 
becomes involved with the racketeers. The love interest is 
minimized : — 

When Otto Kruger, a criminal lawyer, is disbarred be- 
cause of crooked work in legal cases where he represented 
Sidney Toler, a racketeer, he decides to have town. The 
plane taking him out West makes a forced landing. In 
order to while away the time, he goes to the courthouse, 
where he listens to Gail Patrick, a young lawyer, try a 
case; she so impresses him that he decides to use her in 
his work. Leading her to believe that he was a real estate 
operator, with good connections, he offers to obtain a posi- 
tion for her with a lawyer whom he supjxjsedly knew, but 
really his henchman. She gratefully accepts. Following 
Krugcr's orders, the henchman gives Miss Patrick all the 
criminal cases to try. Coached by her employer, who in 
turn had been coached by Kruger, she wins all her cases by 
tricks, much to the annoyance of the District Attorney 
and of his assistant (Robert Preston). Miss Patrick dis- 
likes the work given to her, and leaves; she joins the Dis- 
trict Attorney's staff. Toler is murdered, and the clues lead 
to her former employer. She obtains from his office impor- 
tant information ; she is shocked to learn who Kruger really 
was. With her help, the gang is rounded up. Preston con- 
fesses his love for her, and she accepts Iris marriage pro- 
posal. 

Harry Sauber wrote the story, and Lillie Hayward and 
Robert R. Prcsnell, the screen play ; Robert Florey di- 
rected it. In the cast are Helen Ma^Kcllar, Clay Clement, 
Eddie Marr, Charles Brown, and Frank M. Thomas. 

Not suitable for children. Class B. 



"Ambush" with Gladys Swarthout and 
Lloyd Nolan 

(Paramount, Jan. 20; time,6V/> min.) 
Here is a novelty — a picture starring an opera singer who 
does not sing one song. "Ambush" is a fast-moving pre>gram 
gangster melodrama ; it holds the spectator in tense sus- 
pense. The story is somewhat demoralizing, for it shows the 
methods employed by the gangsters in carrying out their 
nefarious schemes, as well as how powerful they are with 
guns in their hands. Although it is not entertainment for 
children, adults who go in for melodramas of this type 
will enjoy it, for the action is thrilling, the story interest- 
ing, and the plot logical. One is in sympathy with the hero 
and the heroine, who are forced to do the bidding of the 
gangsters : — 

Knowing that her brother (William Henry) had sup- 
plied the gas used by three criminals in holding up the 
bank in which she worked, Gladys Swarthout rushes to 
him : she pleads with him to go to the police, but he refuses. 
The gangsters hold them both prisoners. Ernest Truex, the 
leader, threatens to kill Henry unless Miss Swarthout co- 
operated with them ; he orders her to get them a truck in 
which to make their getaway. She strikes up a friendship 
with Lloyd Nolan, who drove his own truck, and lures him 
to the hideout. There Truex gives Nolan his orders, threat- 
ening him with death unless he obeyed. Nolan soon realizes 
that Miss Swarthout was innocent. All roads were being 
patrolled by police, but, since they knew Nolan, who fre- 
quently drove his truck there, they let him pass without 
examining the contents of his truck. In a clever way, Nolan 
manages to get information to the police without Truex's 
suspecting anything. When they reach a certain spot, they 
abandon the truck and continue by plane. Nolan induces 
them to spare his life, in return for which he offers to take 
them to his hut in the mountains. When they arrive there, 
Henry, feeling that he was ruining his sister's life, goes 
to his death, taking with him one of the gangsters. Another 
gangster dies. Truex, left alone, warns Nolan not to try 
anything. The police finally locate the hideout and arrive 
just in time to save Nolan and Miss Swarthout, whom 
Truex was planning to kill. With the money returned and 
their names cleared, Nolan and Miss Swarthout plan to 
marry. 

Robert Ray wrote the story, and Laura and S. J. Perel- 
man, the screen play ; Kurt Neumann directed it, and 
William Wright produced it. In the cast are Broderick 
Crawford, Rufe Davis, William Frawlcy, and others. 

Not for children. Adult fare. Class B. 



January 21, 1939 



HARRISON'S REPORTS 



11 



"Jesse James" with Tyrone Power, Henry 
Fonda, Randolph Scott and Nancy Kelly 

(20//; Century-Fox, Jan. 27; time, 105 min.) 

This is very good mass entertainment. Technicolor 
photography has never been employed to better advantage. 
Some of the outdoor scenes are like paintings ; they are 
certain to bring gasps of delight from the audience. But 
the biggest drawing card is the title itself, for the fame of 
"Jesse James" is known to most people in this country ; 
and with such popular players in the cast, there is no doubt 
that it will do smash business. It has, however, its defects. 
For one thing, Tyrone Power is hardly the type to portray 
a bold bandit ; as a matter of fact, he comes out third best, 
for both Henry Fonda and Randolph Scott act more con- 
vincingly. Secondly, there are spots in which the action 
drags considerably. And, thirdly, the hero is not a sympa- 
thetic character, despite the efforts of the producers to 
justify his criminal activities. But the action is at times 
thrilling, at other times laugh-provoking, and for the most 
part interesting : — 

Embittered by the ruthless methods employed by the 
railroad company in usurping their farm land, thereby 
causing the death of their mother, Jesse James (Power) 
and Frank James (Fonda) become outlaws, centering most 
of their activities against the railroad company. In time, 
however, they branch out to robbing also banks. A big re- 
ward is offered by the railroad company for Jesse's capture. 
Despite the risk, Jesse visits Zerelda (Nancy Kelly), with 
whom he was in love. There he meets Will Wright (Scott), 
a federal marshal, who, too, loved Zerelda ; Wright knows 
who Jesse was but lets him go free. In an effort to help 
the young couple, Wright obtains a written promise from 
the railroad president that, if Jesse would surrender, he 
would be given a six-month sentence and then released. 
Zerelda and Jesse marry, after which Jesse gives himself 
up. But it turns out that the president really intended to 
have Jesse hanged. The double-cross disgusts Scott. Frank, 
in company with his bandits, carries out his threat to free 
Jesse. Jesse and Zerelda live in hiding. This makes her 
miserable. Scott and her uncle (Henry Hull) are with her 
when she gives birth to her son ; she goes back home with 
her uncle. Jesse decides not to follow her ; instead, he con- 
tinues his outlaw career. After five years, he and his wife 
are reconciled, and plan to go to California, there to start 
life anew. On the day they were to leave, Jesse is killed 
by one of his own men for the reward. 

Nunnally Johnson wrote the original screen play and 
produced it. Henry King directed it. In the cast are Slim 
Summerville, J. Edward Bromberg, John Carradine, Jane 
Darwell, and others. 

Since the hero is a bandit, exhibitors will have to use 
their own judgment about showing it to children. Suita- 
bility, Class B. 



"King of the Underworld" with Kay Francis 
and Humphrey Bogart 

{Warner Bros., Jan. 28; time, 68 min.) 
A fairly good program gangster melodrama ; the action 
is fast and exciting. The story is similar to that of "Dr. 
Sociates," produced by Warner in 1935, for the main idea — 
that of a doctor subduing a gang of murderous criminals by 
frightening them into permitting him to give them an 
injection that doped them, is used here, except that in this 
case the doctor puts drops in their eyes, which blind them 
temporarily. It is more effectively done than in "Dr. Socra- 
tes," for the gangster leader, although unable to see, walks 
around with a gun in his hand, intent on killing the doctor ; 
this holds the spectator in tense suspense. For another thing, 
the leading character (Miss Francis) is more sympathetic, 
for she docs not willingly help the gangsters. The romance 
is pleasant : — 

Kay Francis and her husband (John Eldridge), both 
surgeons, complete a successful operation on a gangster 
who had been shot. When Humphrey Bogart, gangster 
leader, hears of it, he visits Eldridge and insists on giving 
him $500 for his work. Eldridge tells Miss Francis he had 
won the money betting on horses ; he suggests that they 
move to more fashionable quarters. Unknown to Miss 
Francis, Eldridge continues his association with the gang- 
sters. Eventually the police raid Bogart's hideout ; Eldridge 
is killed during the shooting, but Bogart and his men escape. 
Miss Francis is arrested as her husband's accomplice. At 
her trial, the jury disagrees and she is released. The Medi- 
cal Association gives her three months in which to prove 
her innocence. Hearing that two of Bogart's henchmen 
were held in a small town jail, she leaves for that place, 
and there she opens an office. Bogart and his henchmen 



arrive at the jail and shoot their way through to release the 
prisoners. James Stephenson, a penniless author wdio had 
accepted a lift from Bogart, is shot ; so is Bogart. Stephen- 
son is caught trying to escape and is arrested as one of the 
gangsters; but he proves his innocence. He and Miss 
Francis become good friends. Miss Francis' aunt insists 
that he stay with them for a while. Bogart calls on Miss 
Francis ; she takes care of him. Wanting to have the story 
of his life written, Bogart has his men kidnap Stephenson; 
his intention was to kill him when the book was finished. 
Miss Francis outwits the gang, leading them into the hands 
of the federal officers. Bogart is killed. Her name cleared, 
she marries Stephenson. 

W. R. Burnett wrote the story, and George Bricker and 
Vincent Sherman, the screen play; Lewis Seiler directed 
it, and Bryan Foy produced it. 

Not suitable for children. Class B. 



"Pirates of the Skies" with Kent Taylor, 
Rochelle Hudson and Regis Toomey 

(Universal, Feb. 3; time, 61 min.) 

A fair program melodrama, revolving around the activi- 
ties of the air police patrol. Although the story is familiar, 
it holds one in fair suspense, because of the exciting action 
during the encounters between the police and the criminals. 
Since the audience knows from the very beginning who the 
criminals are, the interest lies in the methods emploved by 
the police in solving the case. Occasionally the action is 
slowed up because of too much dialogue and of the inter- 
jection of comedy that is not particularly effective: — 

Kent Taylor, a happy-go-lucky aviator, who could not 
hold down a job, joins the air police force in wdiich his pal 
(Regis Toomey) was an officer. Rochelle Hudson, Kent's 
wife, who had left him because of his inability to take a 
job seriously, expresses doubt as to Kent's ability for such 
work. The police are unable to obtain clues as to the iden- 
tity of a gang of racketeers, who had been terrorizing the 
district by their bold holdups. Kent, who had been ordered 
to fly to a summer camp, there to pick up the Governor and 
take him to the Capitol Building, notices, while in flight, a 
car stopping at a landing field. Two men emerge from the 
car and rush to a waiting plane. Realizing that they must be 
the mysterious criminals, he starts pursuing them ; but they 
get away from him. Because of engine trouble, Kent is 
forced to land at the pigeon farm owned by Lucien Little- 
field, who was really the head of the gang. Littlefield helps 
him out. after which Kent returns to headquarters ; but he 
is forced to resign because of acting against orders. He fol- 
lows the case up himself, and eventually proves that he was 
correct in his deductions. The gangsters are trapped by the 
police. Kent's reinstatement brings happiness to Miss Hud- 
son, who becomes reconciled with him. 

Ben G. Kolm wrote the screen play, Joe McDonough 
directed it, and Barney Sarecky produced it. In the cast are 
Dorothy Arnold, Marion Martin, and others. 

The activities of the criminals make it unsuitable for 
children. Class B. 

"Fighting Thoroughbreds" with Ralph 
Byrd, Mary Carlisle and Robert Allen 

(Republic, January 6; time, 65 min.) 

A pretty good racetrack program melodrama. Although 
not very different in story content from other pictures of 
this type, it should please an average audience, for the 
action is pretty fast and fairly interesting. One is in sym- 
pathy with the heroine (Mary Carlisle) and her grand- 
father (George Hayes), who, because of financial difficul- 
ties, had lost their home and their horses. The spectator is. 
therefore, pleased when they come into possession of a coit 
whose sire had been a race horse, for it meant that they 
could recoup their fortunes if the colt should turn out to be 
a racer. One's attention is held until the end, when the big 
race is run ; during this situation one is held in suspense for 
the heroine's chances of winning are endangered by gam- 
blers, who had kidnapped her grandfather in order to force 
her to hold her horse back, for they were betting on another 
horse. But her horse wins, and her grandfather is rescin d 
by the hero (Ralph Byrd), a physician who had brought 
the colt into the world and had helped her train it. and by 
Robert Allen, a wealthy man, who was in love with her 
But she gives her love to Byrd. 

Clarence E. Marks and Robert Wyler wrote the story, 
and Wellyn Totman, the screen play"; Sidney Salkow di- 
rected it. and Annand Schaefer produced it. In the cast are 
( harles Wilson, Marvin Stephens, and others. 

Suitability, Class A. 



12 



HARRISON'S REPORTS 



January 21, 1939 



PARAMOUNT TAKES STEP TO 
DIVORCE THEATRES FROM 
PRODUCTION 

In the financial section of the January 6 issue of the New 
York Herald-Tribune, there was a news item to the effect 
that Paramount has taken the first steps to divest itself of 
its theatre holdings. 

The Tribune article says that Paramount contemplates 
forming two new companies, one for the taking over of 
production, and the other of the theatres. One share from 
each new company will be given for one share of the present 
stock. 

"This action," says the Herald-Tribune, "is believed to 
be the first of similar moves by other motion picture com- 
panies, which also own exhibiting facilities, as a result of 
the anti-trust action taken against the industry by the 
Department of Justice. 

"Just when Paramount will take this action is not known, 
but it was reported that the changes would be made within 
the next two months. The annual meeting of the company 
is scheduled for the third Thursday in June, and it is likely 
that a special meeting of the stockholders to approve the 
action will be called. . . ." 

It is evident that Paramount, seeing the handwriting on 
the wall as a result of the Government's suit, is trying to 
devise all kinds of schemes to preserve its theatre circuit. 
But Harrison's Reports doubts whether it will be al- 
lowed by the Department of Justice to employ subterfuges, 
for creating two companies so that each may take over one 
of the two functions of the present company so as to re- 
tain control over the theatres is nothing but a subterfuge. 

If I understand correctly the intention of the Govern- 
ment, as expressed in the suit, the Department of Justice is 
seeking to compel the theatre-owning producers to divest 
themselves of their theatre holdings entirely. The Govern- 
ment feels that ownership of theatres by producer-distribu- 
tors is contrary to public policy and it is unlikely that it 
will permit either Paramount or any other theatre-owning 
producer to retain over their theatres even an indirect 
interest. 

Isn't it about time that the producers stopped "kidding" 
themselves ? Certainly they cannot fool the Government. 



IS PARAMOUNT NOW TO MAKE 
DELIVERY OF "CHEATERS" A 
REGULAR PRACTICE? 

"The Beachcomber," the British-made picture with 
Charles Laughton, which Paramount has announced for 
release, is not a Paramount-made picture. 

"Little Orphan Annie," which this company has al- 
ready released, is not a Paramount-made picture. 

"One-third of a Nation," now in the cutting room, 
which will be released by Paramount, is not a Paramount- 
made picture. 

Since the last mentioned picture has not yet been shown, 
I don't know whether it is a good or bad picture, but 
the other two — "The Beachcomber" and "Little Orphan 
Annie," have been shown and they are decidedly poor. 

According to the December 21 issue of Variety, Para- 
mount intends to release at least five outside pictures this 
season. 

No exhibitor would, I am sure, object if Paramount 
should take over meritorious pictures, but when it takes 
over pictures such as "Little Orphan Annie" and "The 
Beachcomber," it is different. 

BOX-OFFICE PERFORMANCES OF 
1938-39 SEASON'S PICTURES— No. 2 

Metro-Gold wyn-Mayer 
1937-38 

"Rich Man Poor Girl," with Robert Young, Lew Ayres, 
and Ruth Hussey, produced by Edward Chodorov and di- 
rected by Reinhold Sehunzel, from a screen play by Joseph 
A. Fields and Jerome Chodorov : Good-Fair. 

"Blockheads," with Stan Laurel and Oliver Hardy, pro- 
duced by Hal Roach, Jr., and directed by John G. Blystone, 



from a screen play by Charles Rogers, Felix Adler, James 
Parrott, Harry Langdon and Arnold Belgard : Fair. 

"Marie Antoinette," with Norma Shearer, Tyrone 
Power, John Barrymore, and Robert Morley, produced by 
Hunt Stromberg and directed by W. S. Van Dyke II, from 
a screen play by Claudine West, Donald Ogden Stewart 
and Ernest Vajda: Very Good-Good. 

Forty-five pictures have been released. Grouping the 
pictures of the different ratings from the beginning of the 
season, we get the following results : 

Excellent, 1 ; Excellent-Very Good, 1 ; Excellent-Good, 
3; Very Good-Good, 10; Very Good-Fair, 3; Very Good- 
Poor, 1 ; Good, 8; Good-Fair, 13; Good- Poor, 2; Fair, 2; 
Fair -Poor, 1. 

Forty-four pictures were released in the 1936-37 season. 
They were rated as follows : 

Excellent, 3; Excellent- Very Good, 3; Very Good, 2; 
Very Good--Good, 3; Good, 3; Good-Fair, 6; Good-Poor, 
1 ; Fair, 13; Fair- Poor, 6; Poor, 4. 

1938-39 

"Three Loves Has Nancy," with Janet Gayrtor, Robert 
Montgomery, and Frauchot Tone, produced by Norman 
Krasna and directed by Richard Thorpe, from a screen 
play by Bell and Samuel Spewack, George Oppenheimer, 
and David Hertz: Good. 

"Boys Town," with Spencer Tracy, Mickey Rooney, and 
Henry Hull, produced by John W. Considine, Jr., and 
directed by Norman Taurog, from a screen play by John 
Meehan and Dore Schary : Excellent-V ery Good. 

"Too Hot to Handle," with Clark Gable, Myrna Loy, 
and Walter Pidgeon, produced by Lawrence Weingarten 
and directed by Jack Conway, from a screen play by 
Laurence Stalliags and John Lee Mahin : Excellent- Very 
Good. 

"Vacation from Love," with Denis O'Keefe, Florence 
Rice, and Reginald Owen, produced by Orville O. Dull and 
directed by George Fitzmaurice, from a screen play by 
Harlan Ware and Patterson McNult: Good-Fair. 

"Stablemates," with Mickey Rooney and Wallace Beery, 
produced by Harry Rapf and directed by Sam Wood, from 
a screen play by Leonard Praskins and Richard Alaibaum : 
Very Good-Good. 

"Young Dr. Kildare," with Lew Ayres, Lionel Barry- 
more, and Lynne Carver, directed by Harold S. Bucquet, 
from a screen play by Willis Goldbeck and Harry Ruskin : 
Good-Fair. 

"Listen Darling," with Judy Garland, Freddie Bartholo- 
mew, Mary Astor, and Walter Pidgeon, produced by Jack 
Cummings and directed by Edwin L. Marin, from a screen 
play by Elaine Ryan and Anne M. Chapin : Good-Fair. 

"The Citadel," with Robert Donat and Rosalind Russell, 
produced by Victor Saville and directed by King Vidor, 
from a screen play by Ian Dalrymple, Frank Wead, and 
Elizabeth Hill : Good-Fair. 

"The Great Waltz," widi Luise Rainer, Fernand Gravet, 
and Miliza Korjus, directed by Julian Duvivier, from the 
screen play' by Samuel Hoffenstein and Walter Reisch : 
Very Good-Fair. 

"Spring Madness," with Maureen O'SulIivan, Lew 
Ayres, and Burgess Meredith, produced by Edward Chod- 
orov and directed by S. Sylvan Simon, from a screen play 
by Edward Chodorov : Good-Fair. 

"The Shining Hour," with Joan Crawford, Margaret 
Sullavan, Melvyn Douglas, and Robert Young, produced 
by Joseph L. Mankiewicz, and directed by Frank Borzage, 
from a screen play by Jane Murfin and Ogden Nash : Very 
Good-Good. 

Eleven pictures have already been released. Grouping 
the pictures of the different ratings from the beginning of 
the season, we get the following results: 

Excellent- Very Good, 2 ; Very Good-Good, 2 ; Very 
Good-Fair, 1 ; Good, 1 ; Good-Fair, 5. 

The first eleven pictures in the 1937-38 season were rated 
as follows : 

Very Good, 1; Good-Fair, 1; Fair, 6; Fair-Poor, 2; 
Poor,l. 



Entered as second-class matter January 4, 1921, at the post offioe at New York, New York, under the act of March 2, 1879. 

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A REVIEWING SERVICE FREE FROM THE INFLUENCE OF FILM ADVERTISING 

Vol. XXI SATURDAY, JANUARY 28, 1939 No. 4 



ALLIED NEITHER ACCEPTS NOR 
REJECTS DISTRIBUTOR TRADE 
REFORM DRAFT 

At the first meeting of the Allied board of directors last 
week at the Carlton Hotel, in Washington, D. C, the Allied 
negotiating committee reported that it had received from 
the distributors on January 14 a revised trade reform draft, 
that this draft was not different materially from the draft it 
had received on December 1, and that the proposals con- 
tained in it were not much different from the oral proposals 
it had received from them as outlined at the meeting in 
Chicago on November 3. The only points of difference, the 
report said, were minor clarifications of language. 

The chairman reported also that, along with the new 
draft, it had received a "wholly tentative outline of an 
arbitration set-up, not complete as to either principles or 
details"; that the distributors requested counsel for Allied 
to sit in with their counsel so as to aid in the drafting of a 
suitable declaration of principles, as well as in the working 
out of the arbitration rules and of other details, in addition 
to suggesting the clarification of the language of whatever 
of the proposals are obscure. 

The chairman informed the board that the new draft 
contains the maximum distributor concessions. 

The negotiating committee informed the board that the 
proposals do not, in its opinion, meet with the requirements 
of the Chicago resolution calling for a complete plan in- 
cluding the details of arbitration. For this reason it could 
not recommend either its acceptance or its rejection, but it 
requested for authorization to continue its negotiations up 
to March 1, either directly or through the Allied counsel, 
to ascertain whether a satisfactory arbitration plan could 
or could not be evolved, and whether the language of the 
provisions of the draft could or could not be clarified satis- 
factorily, so as to enable the committee to determine 
whether it should recommend the acceptance or the rejec- 
tion of the proposals. 

The committee recommended further that, in order that 
misunderstandings be prevented, the Allied board reaffirm 
the position Allied had taken in Chicago — that nothing 
that may be submitted by the distributors in any plan shall 
"hamper or preclude Allied from seeking a larger measure 
of relief through prosecution of its program of legislation 
and litigation and that such program be pursued unceas- 
ingly and with vigor." 

At the Tuesday afternoon session, the Allied board 
passed the following resolution : 

"RESOLVED :— 

"1. That the Board of Directors of Allied States Asso- 
ciation of Motion Picture Exhibitors accepts and approves 
the unanimous report of the Negotiating Committee. 

"2. That the distributors' draft of proposed trade re- 
forms dated December 1, as revised January 14, is not 
sufficiently definite or complete to enable the Board advis- 
edly to take final acceptance or rejection. 

"3. That the Negotiating Committee is authorized to 
continue its efforts to secure a draft for the consideration 
of the Board which will meet the Board's requirement, set 
forth in its resolution dated November 3, that it must have 
a complete and definite plan, including the details of arbi- 
tration, before it can act. 

"4. That any further report the Committee may have to 
make shall be submitted to the Board not later than March 
1, 1939. 

"5. After thorough study of the proposals submitted, and 
presupposing that a legal and workable wording of such 
proposals may be evolved, the Board feels that such pro- 
posals fall far short of curing the industry evils of which 
Allied and the independent exhibitors have complained for 
years ; and the Board, therefore, reiterates the stand taken 



in its former resolution that nothing in any plan which may 
be reported shall in any way hinder or preclude Allied 
States Association from seeking a larger measure of relief 
than that offered by the distributors by legislation, litiga- 
tion, or otherwise ; and, further that the Allied campaign 
of legislation and litigation be prosecuted unceasingly and 
with vigor." 

At the Wednesday session Col. H. A. Cole was elected 
president, Mr. Abram F. Myers was reelected general 
counsel, Mr. Herman Blum treasurer, Mr. Charles Olive 
was elected secretary, and Mr. P. J. Wood recording 
secretary. 

The following were elected as executive committeemen : 
W. A. Steffes, Sidney Samuelson, Martin G. Smith, Abram 
F. Myers, Col. H. A. Cole, and Nathan Yamins. 

Minneapolis was chosen as the place of the next national 
convention, the date to be determined by the board of 
directors. 



YOU ARE RIGHT, 
MR. DUDLEY NICHOLS! 
RIGHT, MR. HOWARD BARNES! 

According to Mr. Howard Barnes, motion picture critic 
of the New York Herald Tribune, Mr. Dudley Nichols, 
the famous Hollywood script writer, while acting as master 
of ceremonies for the New York Film Critics' awards the 
first week in January, said a few unpleasant things about 
picture making in Hollywood. 

"The Cinema," said Mr. Nichols, "desperately needs 
strong, fearless criticism. One of the weaknesses of Holly- 
wood, which is filled with talented, intelligent people, is 
that it has no power of self-criticism. Every third produc- 
tion is colossal in the public prints. You have to wait for 
the New York release before you can gauge the actual 
worth of a film. As a result, when business falls off Holly- 
wood is confused. 

"According to the local press, they have been making 
masterpieces, but the public stays away. ..." 

Evidently Mr. Nichols has not been reading Harrison's 
Reports ; otherwise he would not have said that motion 
pictures need "strong, fearless criticism." That is what 
Harrison's Reports has been giving weekly ever since it 
was founded twenty years ago — strong, fearless criticism. 

Incidentally, Mr. Barnes, in commenting upon some of 
the pictures as a result of Mr. Nichols' criticism, said the 
following : 

"If you are inclined to doubt Mr. Nichols' contention that 
as far as picture writing is concerned, 'the pasture is dry,' 
you can easily be convinced by attending some of Holly- 
wood's offerings since the start of a New Year. Several of 
them boast more than ordinary amount of technical crafts- 
manship, but none of them impinge even remotely on re- 
ality. Antique themes, stock situations and dusty dramatic 
devices have been passed off for significant story material. 
No amount of expert renovating would have succeeded in 
making most of it acceptable as first-class screen enter- 
tainment. 

" 'Trade Winds' ... is a perfect case in point. Tay 
Garnett, who directed the detective melodrama, decided to 
have authentic settings for the action as it shuttled back 
and forth across the Pacific from San Francisco to Singa- 
pore, so he went out and photographed them himself. They 
are colorful and intriguing. The only trouble is that he 
failed to arrange for a significant narrative to go with them. 
The fable of a sleuth chasing a suspected murderess half 
way around the world, only to fall in love with her and 
clear her fair name, is so rusty that even the good dialogue 
of Alan Campbell and Dorothy Parker hasn't been able to 
brighten it appreciably. . . . 

{Continued on last />(i</r) 



14 



HARRISON'S REPORTS 



January 28, 1939 



"Son of Frankenstein" with Boris Karloff, 
Basil Rathbone, Bela Lugosi, Lionel Atwill 
and Josephine Hutchinson 

(Universal, January 13; time, 98 min.) 

Very good. Universal has a worthy successor in tin's to 
the first "Frankenstein" picture, for, though less horrific, 
it is as exciting as the other. The production, acting, and 
direction are ot a superior quality. As in the first picture, 
there are situations that hold one in tense suspense, sending 
chills down one's spine, and others that tend to touch one's 
emotions. The eeriness of the settings, both indoor and out- 
door, adds considerably to the excitement : — 

Basil Rathbone, son of the scientist who had created the 
monster, arrives at the town of Frankenstein, there to live 
with his wife (Josephine Hutchinson), child (Donnie 
Dunagan), and servants in the castle he had inherited from 
his father. Being a scientist like his father, Rathbone is 
thrilled when he reads his father's notes on his creation of 
the monster. The townsfolk refuse to have anything to do 
with Rathbone, whose father had brought them so much 
misery and unhappiness ; but he disregards them, refusing 
to listen to the warnings of Lional Atwill, the police in- 
spector, who had cautioned him against trying anything in 
his father's field. Rathbone is thrilled when he learns, 
through Bela Lugosi, a deformed, murderous looter of 
graves, that the monster still lived, although he was too ill 
to move. Rathbone brings the monster back to life; the 
fact that it commits murders, again terrorizing the neigh- 
borhood, does not stop him from his work. In a quarrel 
with Lugosi, Rathbone is forced to kill him in self defense. 
The monster is grief-stricken, for Lugosi had been the only 
person who had had control over him. In his grief, he goes 
after Rathbone's child ; it is then that Rathbone awakens to 
the wrong he had done. Together with Atwill he rushes to 
save his child ; Atwill grabs the child and Rathbone dis- 
poses of the monster by pushing it into a boiling natural 
sulphur pool. Rathbone turns over the castle to the town, 
to do with as they pleased; he and his family leave the 
country. 

Willis Cooper wrote the screen play, and Rowland V. 
Lee produced and directed it. In the cast arc Emma Dunn, 
Edgar Norton, Lawrence Grant, and others. 

It may frighten children. Suitable mostly for adults. 
Class B. 



"Boy Slaves" with Anne Shirley 

(RKO, February 10; time, 71 min.) 
A grim, depressing melodrama, with a sordid back- 
ground. Aside from good performances, there is not much 
in it to recommend ; it is hardly the type of entertainment 
that motion-picture goers want to see today, for it is cheer- 
less. The comic relief, which is a take-off on the antics of 
the original "Dead End" boys, is too familiar to provoke 
laughter. There is no romance. As a matter of fact, it seems 
as if the part played by Anne Shirley was written in as an 
afterthought — so as to have one well-known name to 
bolster up the weak cast : — 

A group of young boys, living as hoboes, are arrested for 
petty thievery. They are bailed out by a supposedly civic- 
minded citizen, who offers to give them employment at his 
turpentine plant in the woods. The boys, with the exception 
of their leader, willingly take the jobs. But once they get to 
the plant they realize they had been tricked, for what they 
had been brought into was peonage — they were forced to 
sleep in quarters surrounded by barbed wire, eat the poor 
food for which they were charged exorbitant prices, and 
work long hours ; they received no salary, for they were 
constantly in the debt of the company for things they had 
bought from them. Anne Shirley, a young servant working 
for the owner, in an effort to protect herself from the un- 
desired attentions of Alan Baxter, the foreman, goes to the 
boys' but and pleads for protection. Baxter enters and 
there follows a quarrel, during which one of the boys is 
shot. Baxter knocks over an oil lamp and a fire breaks out. 
The boys, together with Miss Shirley, escape. But even- 
tually they are caught and brought to trial. The judge feels 
pity for them and sends them to a state farm, there to learn 
a trade. He then enters federal charges against the owner 
on the grounds of peonage. 

Albert Bein wrote the story, and he and Ben Orkow, the 
screen play; P. J. Wolf son directed and produced it. In 
the cast are Roger Daniel, James McCallion, Johnny 
Fitzgerald, Walter Ward, and others. 

It is hardly suitable for children. Class B. 



"Wings of the Navy" with George Brent, 
John Payne and Olivia deHavilland 

(Warner Bros., February 11 ; time, 88^ min.) 
Excellent from a mechanical and technical standpoint ; 
it is a fine tribute to the United States Naval Flying serv- 
ice and to its system of training young men for the service. 
But as entertainment, its appeal will be directed mainly to 
those who are interested in aviation, for, aside from the 
thrilling air work, which is enhanced by excellent photog- 
raphy, the story leaves one cold, since it deals for the most 
part with the method of training and the technical side of 
aviation. The personal drama involving two brothers and 
a young girl in a triangle love affair is so familiar that it 
fails to impress or to touch one's emotions. The two most 
thrilling scenes are those which show a test pilot and later 
the hero making a test flight of a new machine. The one 
involving the hero is done so dramatically that spectators 
will be limp by the time the hero's plane touches the ground. 
Frank Mcflugh, as a student aviation enthusiast, contri- 
butes some good comedy. Most of the action takes place at 
the Pensacola and San Diego naval air stations: — 

George Brent, a naval aviation officer, is angry when his 
young brother (John Payne) leaves submarine service for 
aviation. But once Payne shows his ability as an aviator. 
Brent is proud of him. Payne falls in love with Miss 
deHavilland, his brother's fiancee; she, too, loves him. But 
when Brent meets with an accident which grounds him, 
both Payne and Miss deHavilland realize that they must 
forget their own feelings so as not to hurt Brent. Miss 
deHavilland knows that the only thing that could make 
Brent happy again would be the successful testing of a 
new type plane he had designed. After one pilot is killed 
while testing it, Payne decides to take it up himself; he 
does this against the wishes of Brent, who feared for his 
safety. But Payne, after a thrilling test, brings the plane 
down safely. Brent is overjoyed. Eventually he senses the 
love of his fiancee and brother for each other ; he frees 
Miss deHavilland to marry Payne. 

Michael Fes: ier wrote the original screen play ; Lloyd 
Bacon directed it, and Hal B. Wallis produced it. In the 
cast are John Litcl, Victor Jory, Henry O'Neill, John 
Ridgely, John Gallaudet, and others. 

Suitability, Class A. 



"The Mysterious Miss X" with Michael 
Whalen, Mary Hart and Chick Chandler 

(Republic, January 10; time, 64 min.) 
A mildly entertaining murder-mystery melodrama with 
comedy situations, parts of which are pretty silly. Since the 
comedy is stressed, it is difficult for the spectator to take 
the melodramatic angle seriously. Moreover, the outcome 
is obvious ; and, although the murderer is not identified 
until the end, it is simple for one to guess his identity long 
before then. The plot is far-fetched, and is developed in an 
unbelievable way : — 

Michael Whalen and Chick Chandler, two actors 
stranded in a small town, having become accidentally in- 
volved in the murder of a man in the room next to 
Whalen's, are arrested and taken to jail. They naturally 
deny knowing anything about the case. When the police 
search Whalen's belongings, they find a certificate from 
Scotland Yard showing that he was an officer who had been 
sent to the United States on an important mission, and, 
not realizing that this was a prop Whalen had used in his 
play, they release them and treat them with courtesy. Mary 
Hart, whose father had been arrested for the murder, 
pleads with Whalen to solve the case. The murdered man's 
widow, too, pleads with Whalen to help her. offering him 
an advance fee of $1,000. Having fallen in love with Miss 
Hart, Whalen agrees to stay. He gets Miss Hart into 
trouble by his schemes to trap the murderer. By the time 
the police learn that he was a fraud, he solves the case by 
proving that the victim's lawyer had committed the murder 
because of the way the victim had been treating his wife, 
whom the lawyer loved. He had killed the second man be- 
cause he knew too much. With the case settled, Whalen 
and Miss Hart decide to marry; and Chandler, against his 
will, marries the hotel manager, who had attached herself 
to him. 

George W. Yates wrote the story, and Olive Cooper, the 
screen play; Gus Meins directed it, and Herman Schlom 
produced it. In the cast are Mabel Todd, Frank M. 
Thomas, Regis Toomcy, and others. 

The murders make it unsuitable for children. Class B. 



January 28, 1939 



HARRISON'S REPORTS 



15 



"They Made Me a Criminal" 
with John Garfield 

{Warner Bros., January 28; time, 92 mm.) 

A strong melodrama, with very good box-office possi- 
bilities. The title is misleading — one would imagine this 
to be a gangster melodrama ; it is rather a story of regen- 
eration. The strength of this picture lies, not so much in 
the story, as in the excellent performances. Were it not for 
the effective way in which John Garfield portrays the hero, 
he would be an extremely unsympathetic character, for his 
actions arc unpleasant almost to the end ; one cannot, how- 
ever, help feeling pity and respect for him. Some situations 
touch one's emotions ; others, provoke hearty laughter. One 
situation, although of slight importance to the story, is so 
thrilling that audiences will not soon forget it ; it shows 
Garfield and the five "Dead End" boys swimming in an 
irrigation tank in which they had been caught when the 
water started to drain out. As an added attraction for men 
there are two bouts that are thrillers. The romance is 
handled effectively : — 

In order to prevent a newspaper reporter from printing 
a story about Garfield, a champion fighter, telling the public 
that Garfield, who was thought to be a home boy, was, in 
reality, a drinker and carouser, Robert Gleckler, Gar- 
ficld's manager, hits the reporter over the head with a 
bottle ; the reporter dies. Gleckler and Garfield's girl- 
friend (Ann Sheridan) take Garfield, who had passed out 
in a drunken stupor, to a farmhouse. They take his money, 
even his wrist watch, and run away ; but they are both 
killed when their automobile is wrecked. Garfield reads the 
story in the papers the next morning; also that the police 
believed him to be derid, a victim of the car crash. He 
leaves town, travelling as a hobo. Hungry and worn out, 
he stops at the date farm run by Gloria Dickson and May 
Robson, and by five young tough boys, who had been pa- 
roled in their care. Garfield, who had believed that a man 
was a "sucker" to do a kind deed, gradually changes. 
When he learns that with $2,000 the boys could open a gas 
station and help Miss Dickson along, he signs up to fight a 
travelling boxer, who offered $500 a round to any one who 
could stay in the ring with him. Claude Rains, a New York 
detective, who had always felt that the dead man in the car 
had not been Garfield, sees a picture of a fighter in a maga- 
zine ; this had been snapped by one of the boys and sent to 
a magazine. From the pose, Rains recognizes Garfield ; he 
sets out for the small town. Garfield, who had seen Rains 
and had decided not to fight, decides to risk his freedom so 
as not to disappoint the boys and Miss Dickson, who loved 
him. He goes into the ring and tries to fight a different 
way, so that Rains would not recognize him ; but he has to 
revert to his own style in order to stay in long enough to 
win $2,000. Rains visits him in the dressing room and Gar- 
field admits his identity. They prepare to leave ; but when 
the train pulls in, Rains, who felt that Garfield might he 
innocent, decides to let him go ; he cautions him to keep 
his picture out of papers. 

Bertram Millhauser and Beulah M. Dix wrote the story, 
and Sig Herzig, the screen play ; Busby Berkeley directed 
it, and Benjamin Glazer produced it. In the cast are John 
Ridgely, Barbara Pepper, William Davidson, and others. 

One situation at the beginning is pretty sexy ; also a 
murder is committed. Therefore, suitability, Class B. 



"The Arizona Wildcat" with Jane Withers 
and Leo Carrillo 

(20th Century-Fox, February 3 ; time, 69 min.) 

Good entertainment. It should appeal, not only to the 
Jane Withers fans, but also to the followers of western 
melodramas. Without sacrificing any of the exciting action 
that is usually a part of outdoor pictures of this type, the 
author succeeded in injecting comedy, human interest, and 
a pleasant romance. There is plentiful horseba k riding, 
shooting, and fighting — enough to satisfy the m ist ardent 
western fans. Jrne and Leo Carrillo are a good comedy 
team ; their antics provoke hearty laughter each time they 
appear. The action takes place in the year 1870: — 

Orphan Jane, whose father had been killed by bandits, 
lived with Carrillo, his wife and five sons. She had her 
suspicions about Henry Wilcoxon, the Sheriff, for he had 
never made any real effort to apprehend the gang of out- 
laws who had been terrorizing the district and stealing gold 
shipments. She accidentally finds out that Carrillo, in his 
youth, had been known as a bandit leader ; by clever ques- 
tioning, she finds out that he had robbed the rich to help 
the poor. When an innocent young man (William Henry), 
who knew too much about Wilcoxon, is imprisoned, Jane, 
unknown to Carrillo. rounds up his former followers again 
to follow their lender so as to save Henry. At first Carrillo 
is frightened at the idea, but the excitement soon gets the 
best of him and he goes forth with his mi n. Hut they are all 



captured and brought to trial. Jane saves them by proving 
Wilcoxon's guilt — she had found several gold shipments 
hidden in his room. Wilcoxon and his men are rounded up; 
Henry is freed when he proves his innocence and shows 
the judge evidence of Wilcoxon's murderous activities. 
Carrillo is made Sheriff, which pleases his family and 
Jane very much. Henry marries the village school teacher. 

Frances Hyland and Albert Ray wrote the story, and 
Barry Trivers and Jerry Cady, the screen play ; Herbert I. 
Leeds directed it, and John Stone produced it. In the cast 
are Pauline Moore, Douglas Fowley, and Etienne Girardot. 

Suitability, Class A. 



"Burn 'Em Up O'Connor" with 
Dennis O'Keefe, Cecilia Parker 
and Nat Pendleton 

(MGM, January 13; time, 69'/ 2 min.) 
A fairly good program murder-mystery melodrama. 
Since most of the action takes place at an automobile race- 
track, where the deaths occur, several races are worked 
into the plot; these tend to heighten the excitement. The 
murders are committed in so clever a way that it is likely 
that most spectators will be surprised at the solution and 
at the murderer's identity. There is occasional comedy to 
relieve the tension, and a pleasant, though routine, ro- 
mance : — 

Dennis O'Keefe, who wanted to become an automobile 
racer, finally realizes his ambition when Harry Carey, 
automobile manufacturer and manager of several voun'g 
men who raced his cars, signs him up. The men in Carey's 
outfit are depressed, since a few of their drivers had met 
with death on the track; they felt they were jinxed. 
O'Keefe's breezy manner annoys them ; he is particularly 
annoying to Carey's daughter (Cecilia Parker), with 
whom he had fallen in love. Everyone's nerves are on edge 
when two more racers meet with death on the track. 
O'Keefe, with the assistance of his seemingly stupid me- 
chanic (Nat Pendleton), finally proves that the guilty per- 
son was Charley Grapewin, the company doctor ; he would 
inject drops into the drivers' eyes, saying it would give 
them clear vision; instead the drops would blind them 
during the race and they would go to their deaths, not being 
able to see where to drive. Grapewin did this because his 
own son died while racing for Carey, whom he hated. Miss 
Parker forgives O'Keefe, promising to marry him. 

Sir Malcolm Campbell wrote the story, and Milton 
Merlin and Byron Morgan, the screen plav ; Edward 
Sedgwick directed it, and Harry Rapf produced it. In the 
cast are Addison Richards, Alan Curtis, Tom Neal, and 
others. 

Suitability, Class A. 

"Mr. Moto's Last Warning" with 
Peter Lorre, Ricardo Cortez 
and Virginia Field 

(20th Century-Fox, January 20; time, 71 min.) 

Action fans will find this melodrama to their liking, for 
it moves at a fast pace, holding one's interest throughout. 
As is the case in most of the pictures in this series, the 
story is highly far-fetched; but this is not objectionable, 
since it offers opportunities for exciting action. Some of 
the situations, particularly those in which Peter Lorre him- 
self has a hand, are thrilling. The thrills are provoked as a 
result of the clever means Lorre, whose life is often endan- 
gered, employs to outwit the conspirators. Laughter is pro- 
voked on a few occasions by the actions of a silly English- 
man. The action takes place at Port Said : — 

Lorre, an international seceret service agent, learns of a 
plot to disrupt the friendly relations between England and 
France. His suspicions center on Ricardo Cortez^ an actor 
at a local playhouse. For a time he is able to work with a 
free hand, for the conspirators believed that they had 
killed him when, in reality, they had killed his assistant 
who, according to instructions, had posed as his chief. 
Lorre learns that the conspirators were planning to destroy 
ships of both nations when they would arrive at Port Said 
for war maneuvers. He is captured by the conspirators, 
who tie him in a sack, and throw him into the water: but 
Lorre is able to cut his way out and return to the scene of 
flie crime in time to prevent the explosion. Cortez is killed 
by Virginia Field, a young cafe owner, who had believed 
he loved her but had learned differently. She thereby saves 
Lorre's life. The other conspirators are captured. 

Philip MacDonald and Norman Foster wrote the origi- 
nal screen play; Norman Foster directed it, and S*>1 M. 
Wurtzel produced it. In the cast are John Carradine, 
George Sanders, Joan Carol, Margaret [rving, and others. 

The murders make it unsuitable for children. Good for 
adults. Class B. 



16 



HARRISON'S REPORTS 



January 28, 1939 



"... 'Zaza,' at the Paramount, and 'Going Places,' at the 
Strand, both start with two strikes against them by em- 
ploying yarns that should have been forgotten long ago. 
The former, with George Cukor doing some of his fanciest 
directing, and Claudette Colbert contributing a remarkably 
convincing portrayal of an unconvincing part, is so dated 
that it fairly cries out for interment in a museum. . . . 

" 'Going Places' is none other than your old friend 'The 
Hottentot,' made all over again with Dick Powell as the 
gentleman rider impersonator and incidental musical num- 
bers. Thanks to the great trumpet player, Louis Arm- 
strong, and that extraordinary swing singer, Maxine Sulli- 
van, the latter interludes are entertaining, but not enough 
to make 'Going Places' seem like anything but a badly 
warmed over screen dish." 

The following is what this paper said partly about these 
three pictures : 

"Trade Winds" : "Just a fair comedy-melodrama. The 
story is extremely thin and unbelievable." 

"Zaza" : "The story creaks with age. What may have 
been considered a great emotional drama years ago strikes 
one today as being silly." 

"Going Places" : "A fairly good comedy ... it is doubt- 
ful if [itj will do more than fairly well." 

Incidentally, "Zaza" was produced by Paramount twice 
before: in 1915, with Pauline Frederick, and in 1923 with 
Gloria Swanson. Both times it "flopped." For this reason 
Paramount should not be forgiven for making it the third 
time, wasting more than $1,500,(100 this time ; it could have 
made three pictures with the money and the star values it 
has wasted. 

"Going Places" was produced also in 1916, by Triangle, 
with Raymond Hatton; in 1923, by First National ; and in 
1929, by Warner Bros. There is something wrong with a 
company when it produces a story the fourth time, particu- 
larly since the only version that went over was the first. 

box-office Performances of 
1938-39 season's pictures— no. 3 

First National 
1938-39 

"Secrets of an Actress," with Kay Francis, George 
Brent, and Ian Hunter, produced by David Lewis and di- 
rected by William Keighley, from a screen play by Milton 
Krims, Rowland Leigh, and Julius J. Epstein: Fair-Poor. 

"Four Daughters," with Priscilla Lane, Claude Rains, 
Jeffrey Lynn, and John Garfield, produced by Henry 
Blanke and directed by Michael Curtiz, from a screen play 
by Julius J. Epstein and Lenore Coffee: Excellent-Good. 

"Garden of the Moon," with Pat O'Brien, Margaret 
Lindsay, John Payne, and Johnnie Davis, produced by 
Lou Edelman and directed by Busby Berkeley, from a 
screen play by Jerry Wald and Richard Macauley : Very 
Good-Fair. 

"Broadway Musketeers," with Margaret Lindsay, Ann 
Sheridan, and John Litel, produced by Bryan Foy and di- 
rected by John Farrow, from a screen play by Don Ryan 
and Kenneth Garnet : Fair-Poor. 

"Girls on Probation," with Jane Bryan, Ronald Reagan, 
and Sheila Bromley, produced by Bryan Foy and directed 
by William McGann, from a screen play by Crane Wilbur : 
Fair. 

"Brother Rat," with Wayne Morris, Priscilla Lane, 
Ronald Reagan, and Jane Bryan, produced by Robert Lord 
and directed by William Keighley, from a screen play by 
Richard Macauley and Jerry Wald: Very Good-Fair. 

"Angels with Dirty Faces," with James Cagney, Pat 
O'Brien, and Ann Sheridan, produced by Sam Bischoff 
and directed by Michael Curtiz, from a screen play by John 
Wexley and Warren Duff : Excellent. 

Seven pictures have already been released. Grouping the 
pictures of the different ratings from the beginning of the 
season, we get the following results : 

Excellent, 1; Excellent-Good, 1; Very Good-Fair, 2; 
Fair, 1 ; Fair-Poor, 2. 

The first seven pictures in the 1937-38 season were rated 
as follows : 

Very Good-Good, 1; Good, 2; Good-Fair, 2; Fair, 1; 
Fair-Poor, 1. 

Paramount 
1937-38 

"Give Me a Sailor," with Martha Raye, Bob Hope, and 
Betty Grable, produced by Jeff Lazarus and directed by 



Elliott Nugent, from a screen play by Doris Anderson and 
Frank Butler: Good-Fair. 

"Spawn of the North," with George Raft, Henry Fonda, 
Dorothy Latnour, and Louise Piatt, produced by Albert 
Lewin and directed by Henry Hathaway, from a screen 
play by Jules Furthnian and Talbot Jennings: Very Good- 
Good. 

Fifty-six pictures have been released. Grouping the pic- 
tures of the different ratings, including Westerns, from the 
beginning of the season, we get the following results: 

Excellent-Very Good, 1 ; Excellent-Good, 1 ; Very Good, 
1; Very Good-Good, 4; Very Good-Fair, 5; Good, 3; 
Good-Fair, 13; Good-Poor, 7; Fair, 11; Fair-Poor, 7; 
Poor, 3. 

Fifty-three pictures were released during the 1936-37 
season, excluding the Westerns; they were rated as 
follows 

Excellent, 1; Excellent-Very Good, 2; Very Good, 3; 
Very Good-Good, 5 ; Good, 9; Good-Fair, 4; Fair, 9; Fair- 
Poor, 17; Poor, 3. 

1938-39 

"Pride of the West," with William Boyd and George 
Hayes, produced by Harry ir" barman and directed by 
IasHc Sclander, from a screen play by Nate Watt : Good- 
Fair. 

"Sing You Sinners," with Bing Crosby, Fred MacMur- 
ray, and Ellen Drew, produced and directed by Wesley 
Ruggles, from a screen play by Claude Binyon : Very 
Good-Fair. 

"In Old Mexico," with William Boyd and George Hayes, 
produced by Harry Sherman and directed by Edward D. 
Venturing from a screen play by Harrison Jacobs: Good- 
Poor. 

"Campus Confes.Mons," with Betty Grable, William 
Henry, and Hank I.uisetti, directed by George Archain- 
baud, from a screen play by Lloyd Corrigan and Erwin 
Gelsey: Fair-Poor. 

"Sons of the Legion," with Lynne Overman, Donald 
O'Connor, and Tim Holt, produced by Stuart Walker and 
directed by James Hogan, from a screen play by Lillie 
Hay ward, Lewis Foster, and Robert F. McGowan : Fair- 
Poor. 

"King of Alcatraz," with J. Carrol Naish, Lloyd Nolan, 
and (jail Patrick, directed by Robert Florey, from a screen 
play by Irving Reis : Good-Fair. 

"Touchdown Army," with John Howard, Mary Car- 
lisle, and Robert Cummings, directed by Kurt Neumann, 
from a screen play by Lloyd Corrigan and Erwin Gelsey : 
Fair. 

"Arkansas Traveler," with Bob Burns, Fay Bainter, 
Jean Parker, and John Beal, produced by George M. 
Arthur and directed by Alfred Santell, from a screen play 
by Viola Brothers Shore and George S. Perry : Very 
Good- Good. 

"Mysterious Rider," with Douglass Dumbrille and Char- 
lotte Fields, produced by Harry Sherman and directed by 
Lesley Sclander, from a screen play by Maurice Geraghty : 
Good- Fair. 

"Men with Wings," with Fred MacMurray, Ray Mil- 
land, and Louise Campbell, produced and directed by 
William A. Wellman, from a screen play by Robert 
Carson : Very Good-Good. 

"Illegal Traffic," with J. Carrol Naish, Mary Carlisle, 
and Robert Preston, produced by William C. Thomas and 
directed by Louis King, from a screen play by Robert Yost, 
Lewis Foster, and Stuart Anthony : Good-Fair. 

"If I were King," with Ronald Colman, Frances Dee, 
and Basil Rathbone, produced and directed by Frank Lloyd, 
from a screen play by Preston Sturgis : Very Good-Good. 

"Thanks for the Memory," with Bob Hope and Shirley 
Ross, produced by Mel Shauer and directed by George 
Archainbuad, from a screen play by Lynn Starling: Good- 
Fair. 

Thirteen pictures have already been released. Grouping 
the pictures of the different ratings from the beginning of 
the season, we get the following results : 

Very Good-Good, 3 ; Very Good-Fair, 1 ; Good-Fair, 5 ; 
Good- Poor, 1 ; Fair, 1 ; Fair-Poor, 2. 

The first thirteen pictures in the 1937-38 season were 
rated as follows : 

Very Good, 1 ; Very Good-Good, 1 ; Good, 2 ; Fair, 4 ; 
Fair-Poor, 4; Poor, 1. 



Entered as second-class matter January 4, 1921, at the post office at New York, New York, under the act of March 3, 1879. 



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A REVIEWING SERVICE FREE FROM THE INFLUENCE OF FILM ADVERTISING 

Vol. XXI SATURDAY, FEBRUARY 4, 1939 No. 5 



KEEPING IN TOUCH WITH LIFE — 
THAT'S WHAT BRINGS CREATIVE 
SUCCESS 

In the story which Elliot Arnold wrote in the Novem- 
ber 28 issue of the New York World-Telegram, about Dick 
Simon and Max Schuster, of Simon & Schuster, the New 
York City book publishers, Mr. Simon is quoted in one 
part of it as having said the following when he stated that 
they sell the books they publish because they publish what 
the people want : 

"We try to keep in touch with what's going on around us. 
We don't want to feel we are publishers — far above or away 
from life. We try to keep very close to things. We try to 
retain our amateur standings as human beings." 

Harrison's Reports hopes that every producing execu- 
tive in Hollywood has read these words, and has benefited 
by them, for that is exactly what ails Hollywood. For 
all that anybody knows Hollywood is not part of the main- 
land in the United States, a city located in California ; it is 
an island, somewhere in the Pacific, surrounded by miles 
and miles of water, away from the teeming, seething, stir- 
ring, overflowing life, with practically no bridge connecting- 
it with the mainland. It is a self-centered world, inhabited 
by a group of people whose only goal is the size of the 
check earned by them. The majority of these people 
consider suggestions from those easterners who foot the 
bill as suggestions unworthy of even the slightest consid- 
erations, "ganging" up on any one who is sent from the 
east with a view to finding out what is wrong with picture 
production — why the majority of the pictures that are pro- 
duced with their money flop dismally at the box office. They 
have a stranglehold on production in that little world, and 
they intend to continue having it. 

Suggestions have often been made by different factors 
how the evil could be eradicated. One of such suggestions 
was that production should be de-centralized, making the 
heads of each production, unit responsible for the results. 
It is a pious wish, and one that could effect real improve- 
ments. But mere suggestions they remain. Who is going 
to compel any one in Hollywood to accept them? The 
clicpjes won't have them. And they have a deadly way of 
preventing their adoption. Let any one from among the 
cliques say, "New York is right!" and his job is not worth 
a cent. Even the stage mechanics are likely to gang up 
on him. 

"Well," you may say, "is there no way whereby the con- 
dition could be remedied?" 
Nobody has yet found it. 



PARAMOUNT ACTIVE IN NORTH 
DAKOTA FOR REPEAL OF 
DIVORCEMENT LAW 

According to reliable information, Paramount is work- 
ing toward having the North Dakota theatre divorce law 
repealed from the statute books of that State. 

If the law should be repealed before the U. S. Supreme 
Court renders its decision, the exhibitors will find it neces- 
sary to carry on the theatre-divorce fight in some other 
state, for the Court will then refuse to render a decision on 
the ground that the question will have become academic. 

Allied should use its efforts toward neutralizing the 
Paramount move ; otherwise, there will be a delay in having 
the constitutionality of such a law determined. 

Incidentally, theatre divorcement measures have been 
introduced in a few more states. 



THE NEW NEELY BILL AGAINST BLOCK 
BOOKING AND BLIND SELLING 

Senator Neely has reintroduced in the Senate his Bill 
against block booking and blind selling. 

In the House of Representatives the twin of the Bill 
has been introduced by Hon. Andrew Edmiston, of West 
Virginia, because Mr. Pettengill is no longer a member of 
Congress. 

Congressman Edmiston intends to work together with 
Senator Neely on the Bill. 

The Motion Picture Council has again taken up the 
cudgel for the Neely Bill. In a release dated January 15, 
it urges every member to write to Senator Burton K. 
Wheeler, Chairman of the Committee on Interstate Com- 
merce, as well as to every committee member, urging a 
prompt committee report and the speedy passage of the 
Bill by the Senate. 

"Complaints by discerning parents about the poor quality 
of pictures shown at children's matinees in neighborhood 
theatres are increasing in number and vigor," says the 
release. "The best way to correct this evil is to secure the 
passage of the Neely Bill." 



OVERDOING A GOOD THING OFTEN 
HAS THE OPPOSITE EFFECT 

The announcement by the Selznick International organi- 
zation that the actress for the part of Scarlett O'Hara in 
"Gone With the Wind" has at last been chosen did not 
make the newspaper editors toss their hats in the air for 
joy ; on the contrary, some of them have received the news 
with some derision. 

The reason for it is the fact that, first, the "gag" of seek- 
ing a player for a particular part so as to gain considerable 
free publicity has been overdone, and in the case of "Gone 
With the Wind" the "search" was kept up too long — 
nearly two years. 



THE BOX OFFICE PERFORMANCE OF 
"THE BEACHCOMBER" 

On January 20, an executive of Paramount informed 
this office that "The Beachcomber," contrary to the adverse 
criticism given of it in these columns, is performing re- 
markably at the box office. He stated the following: 

At the Rivoli, this city, it almost equalled the grosses of 
"Dead End" and "Hurricane." 

At the Paramount, Newark, N. J., it finished the week 
to almost $18,000, thus equalling the grosses of "Wells 
Fargo" and "The Buccaneer," and surpassing those of 
"Artists and Models Abroad," "Men With Wings," "Ar- 
kansas Traveller," and "Bluebeard's Eighth Wife." 

At the Sheridan, in Miami, it outgrossed "Zaza" and 
"Dawn Patrol," and doubled the grosses of "Out West 
With the Hardys." It was then transferred to the Colony, 
where in four days it outgrossed "Sweethearts" (doing 
more in four days than "Sweethearts" in five), "Dawn 
Patrol," "Stand Up and Fight." and doubled the grosses of 
"Angels With Dirty Faces," and "Out West with the 
Hardys." 

At the Princess, in Montreal, where the average opening 
has been $700, it opened to $1,300. 

In Toronto it opened to considerably more than $1,900. 
which is better than "Stage Door," "Four Daughters," 
"Four's a Crowd," "Lucky Star." "Happy Ending'." "Von 
Can't Take It With You," "If 1 Were King," "Drums," 
and "Kentucky." 



18 



HARRISON'S REPORTS 



February 4, 1939 



"Persons In Hiding" with J. Carrol Naish, 
Lynne Overman and Patricia Morison 

(Paramount, Feb. 10; time, 70 mitt. ) 
An extremely interesting and exciting gangster melo- 
drama ; it is, however, strictly adult fare. The original 
story, which was written by J. Edgar Hoover, is developed 
iti"a logical manner and is convincing; it shows in detail 
the methods employed by the Federal Bureau of Investi- 
gation in tracking down criminals and their hideouts. What 
makes it unsuitable for children is the fact that, despite 
the ending, which proves that crime does not pay, the cen- 
tral character is a young girl whose craving for luxuries 
makes her a cold-blooded and ruthless criminal. Most of 
the picture is taken up with the activities of this girl and 
of her companions. No attempt is made to glorify the crimi- 
nals ; as a matter of fact, the bravery of the G-Men is 
stressed. 

In the development of the plot, Patricia Morison, who 
worked in a beauty parlor, decides to get the luxuries she 
wanted by leading a life of crime. She joins forces with 
J. Carrol Naish, a petty crook, warning him that he would 
have to follow her instructions. He falls madly in love with 
her and is completely under her control. After their mar- 
riage, they go to visit her parents, who lived on a broken- 
down farm. From a radio broadcast, the parents learn 
about the crimes the couple had committed. When her 
mother, whom she adored, orders her to leave, Miss Mori- 
son pleads for forgiveness, claiming that she could not lead 
a life of poverty as her mother had done. Their crimes be- 
come more daring; eventually they join forces with a well- 
known gangster, who had admired Miss Morison's clever- 
ness. They kidnap a millionaire, releasing him after they 
receive $200,000 ransom. From minor details the victim 
could remember, G-Man Lynne Overman and his assistant 
(William Henry) locate the hideout, which was Miss 
Morison's parent's farm; they capture the gang, hut Miss 
Morison and Naish escape. The parents are arrested. The 
thought of her innocent mother being in jail is more than 
Miss Morison can stand. She double-crosses her own hus- 
band, hoping in that way to save her mother. But it does 
not work ; both she and Naish are eventually captured. 
They confess ; her parents are released. 

William R. Lipman and Horace McCoy wrote the screen 
play ; Louis King directed it, and Edward T. Lowe pro- 
duced it. In the cast are Wiliam Frawley, William Collier, 
Sr., May Boley, Richard Carle, Richard Stanley, and 
others. 

Unsuitable for children and adolescents. Class B. 



*'Lone Wolf's Spy Hunt" with Warren 
William and Ida Lupino 

(Columbia, Jan. 27; time, 71 win.) 
Just a moderately entertaining melodrama. Handicapped 
by a far-fetched plot and too much comedy, which at times 
is pretty silly, the picture will prove disappointing to those 
who may expect, from the title, a really exciting melodrama. 
In addition, the plot development lacks novelty. The pro- 
duction is lavish ; but this alone cannot hold the spectator's 
attention. No fault can be found with the performances, 
for there is not much that the stars could do with the mate- 
rial at hand :— 

Warren William, who had retired from a life of crime 
in order to take care of his motherless daughter ( Virginia 
Weidler), is kidnapped by gangsters, who offer him a large 
sum of money to open a safe for them ; they wanted to steal 
the secret plan? for new anti-aircraft guns. When William 
refuses, they release him. They continue with their plans, 
however, and plant evidence involving William as the crook. 
William, in an effort to clear his name, starts out to inves- 
tigate the case. He is hampered in his work by Ida Lupino, 
the scatter-brained daughter of a Senator, who was intent 
on marrying him, despite his objections; also by little Vir- 
ginia, who wanted to be a G-Woman. The gangsters kidnap 
William a second time, for they had discovered that the 
plans were incomplete, and they had to open another safe ; 
he outwits them by taking the plans himself and giving 
them different ones. They release him without knowing 
about the trick. Eventually, after many exciting encounters 
with the crooks and their leader (Ralph Morgan), William 
turns over the plans to the police and helps them round up 
the gang. William asks the police inspector to lock him up 
so that he could escape from Miss Lupino; but Virginia 
steals the key to the cell and turns it over to her. 

Louis J. Vance wrote the story, and Jonathan Latimer, 
the screen play; Peter Godfrey directed it, and Joseph 
Sistrom produced it. In the cast are Rita Hayworth, Tom 
Dugan, Ben Welden. and others. 

Since the comedy is stressed, it is suitable for all. Class A. 



"Pardon Our Nerve" with Lynn Bari, 
June Gale and Michael Whalen 

(20th Century-Fox, Feb. 24; time, 67 l / 2 mitt.) 
A pretty good program comedy. In spite of the fact that 
the story is not particularly novel, it is consistently amus- 
ing because of wisecracks and of the antics of some of the 
characters. And the predicaments the heroine and her girl 
friend get themselves into are further causes for laughter. 
The action moves along at a fast pace. Although the prize- 
fight scenes are treated in a comical way, they are fairly 
exciting : — 

Lynn Bari and June Gale, both out of work and with- 
out funds, are happy when they receive a call from an 
escort service bureau for one day's work. But the day ends 
disastrously and, when they call at the office the next day 
to collect their fee, the manager refuses to pay them. While 
he is out of the office, Miss Bari answers a telephone call, 
which was from a society woman who wanted a prize- 
fighter for her party, for which she would pay $150. Miss 
Bari induces (juinn Williams, who had been attracted to 
Miss Gale because she reminded him of his sweetheart back 
home, to pose as the fighter ; she enlists the aid of his pal 
(Edward Brophy) ; the only reason why he entered into 
the scheme was because the girls owed him money. They 
get into trouble again when Williams knocks out the cham- 
pion fighter, who was a guest. Michael Whalen, a sports 
writer, induces Miss Bari to train Williams as a boxer. 
They obtain a loan from a man to whom they were already 
indebted in order to carry out their plans. Williams wins 
all his fights; but when it comes to the championship bout 
he refuses to fight unless the girls send for his sweetheart. 
To add to their troubles, two gamblers try to stop Wil- 
liams from winning. But everything turns out all right — 
Williams wins, the girls collect their share, and then start 
out on new adventures. 

Hilda Stone and Betty Reinhardt wrote the story, and 
Robert Ellis and Helen Logan, the screen play; H. Bruce 
Htimberstone directed it, and Sol M. Wurtzel produced it. 
In the cast are John Miljan, Theodore Von Eltz, and Ward 
Bond. 

Suitability, Class A. 

"St. Louis B'ues" with Dorothy Lamour 
and Lloyd Nolan 

(Paramount, Feb. 3; time. 86 miiu) 
Fairly good mass entertainment. What puts this picture 
over are the specialty numbers, for the story itself is weak 
and somewhat slow-moving ; it lacks excitement because 
of a familiar plot. The title has exploitation possibilities; 
exhibitors will have to depend on it to attract patrons to 
the theatre since the stars are not strong box-office attrac- 
tions. When the specialty performers appear, the picture 
is entertaining — Maxine Sullivan sings the type of 
songs for which she has become famous, Matty Malneck 
and his orchestra play popular swing music, the Hall John- 
son Choir joins Miss Sullivan in a few numbers, Tito 
Guizar sings two songs, and Cliff Nazarro provokes hearty 
laughter by his antics. And, of course, Miss Lamour sings 
a few numbers ; but she is not at her best until the final 
number : — 

Dorothy Lamour, tired of pretending to be a native girl 
and of wearing a sarong, breaks with her manager (Jerome 
Cowan), who had thought of the idea, and runs away. She 
boards the showboat owned and managed by Lloyd Nolan 
and his aunt (Jessie Ralph). Her first tryout as a singer 
falls flat and Nolan, for a long time, refuses to give her 
another chance, requesting her instead to do work around 
the boat. But she tricks him into listening to her and he is 
amazed at her talent. Thereafter he features her ; she proves 
to be a sensation. In the meantime, Cowan obtains an in- 
junction preventing Miss Lamour from appearing pub- 
licly. Miss Ralph reads in a trade paper a notice about the 
injunction: but. being fond of Miss Lamour, and knowing 
that she and Nolan loved each other, she says nothing about 
it. Miss Lamour goes to New York to see Cowan, to plead 
with him to release her ; but he refuses. She goes back to 
the showboat. But Cowan finds out where she is, and serves 
the injunction papers on Nolan. Through a ruse. Miss La- 
mour manages to appear at a performance for which all 
the tickets had been sold out on the strength of her name. 
To newspaper men, Nolan gives the happy news that he 
and Miss Lamour were going to be married. 

Eleanore Griffin and William Rankin wrote the story, 
and Tohn C. Moffitt and Malcolm S. Boylan, the screen 
play; Raoul Walsh directed it, and Jeff Lazarus produced 
it. In the cast are William Frawley, Mary Parker, and 
others. 

Suitability, Class A. 



February 4, 1939 



HARRISON'S REPORTS 



19 



"Gunga Din" with Cary Grant, Victor 
McLaglen, Douglas Fairbanks, Jr. 
and Joan Fontaine 

(RKO, Rel. date not set; time, 116 min.) 

A thrilling adventure melodrama, produced on a "big" 
scale. The scenes of fighting between the British soldiers 
and the native "Thugs," an organized group of religious 
murder fanatics, are so brilliantly directed, that the audi- 
ence is keyed up to a pitch of feverish excitement. As a 
matter of fact, the battle in the closing scenes may prove 
too harrowing for some spectators. Cary Grant, Victor 
McLaglen, and Douglas Fairbanks, Jr., three adventurous 
sergeants, who fight side by side, give excellent perform- 
ances ; not only do they thrill one by their daring exploits, 
but also provoke hearty laughter by the pranks they play. 
The romantic interest is minimized : — 

Upon learning that an entire British patrol had been 
massacred by a fanatical native tribe, the commanding 
officer sends his three trusted sergeants (Grant, McLaglen 
and Fairbanks) with a small troop to repair telegraph 
wires. They are attacked, and after a terrific battle, escape 
with a few casualties. Upon their return to headquarters, 
Fairbanks reveals to his two pals that he intended to retire 
from Army life to marry Joan Fontaine ; they are dis- 
gusted. In an effort to prevent Fairbanks from leaving, 
Grant gives the only other available sergeant a drink that 
knocks him out; Fairbanks is, therefore, compelled to join 
his pals on another expedition. Grant, learning from the 
water boy, Gunga Din (Sam Jaffe), of a hidden treasure, 
prepares to go in search of it ; McLaglen knocks him out 
and then locks him up in order to prevent him from getting 
into trouble. But Jaffe helps him to escape and together they 
go in search of the treasure. They reach and enter a temple 
only to find that it was the worshipping place of the fol- 
lowers of the Thuggee cult. Grant is captured, but Jaffee 
escapes and gets back to camp. When Fairbanks and Mc- 
Laglen hear of Grant's plight, they rush to his assistance ; 
but they, too, are captured. Through a ruse, McLaglen 
succeeds in capturing the Thug leader (Eduardo Cian- 
nelli), keeping him as their hostage. The three sergeants 
are delighted to see in the distance a large force of British 
troops on their way to rescue them. But their delight 
changes to despair when they realize that the entire troop 
would be slaughtered by the natives, who were concealed 
in the hills. Jaffe, although wounded, climbs to the top of 
the temple and blows a bugle, thus warning the British. 
He then dies. Properly warned, the British troops are able 
to protect themselves. After a fierce battle, they emerge 
victorious. Jaffe is buried with honors. Fairbanks decides 
to stay in the Army. 

Ben Hecht and Charles MacArthur wrote the story which 
was inspired by the Rudyard Kipling poem. Joel Sayre and 
Fred Guil wrote the screen play ; George Stevens directed 
and produced it. In the cast are Montagu Love, Lumsden 
Hare, Robert Coote, Abner Biberman, and others. 

Suitability, Class A. 



"Off The Record" with Joan Blondell 
and Pat O'Brien 

{Warner Bros., Jan. 23; time, 70 min.) 
A fair comedy-melodrama, of program grade. Human 
interest is awakened by the efforts of the hero and the 
heroine to regenerate a young boy who had been led astray 
by his older brother. The association between the trio has 
its comical moments, too, for the young man is not an easy 
person to handle. Neither the plot nor its development is 
particularly novel, but it manages to hold one's attention 
fairly well because of the sympathy one feels for the char- 
acters. The action becomes somewhat exciting towards the 
end : — ■ 

Joan Blondell, a newspaper reporter, publishes a story 
accusing a notorious racketeer of employing a young boy 
(Bobby Jordan) to supervise the running of slot machines 
in school districts. Both Jordan and his brother Alan Bax- 
ter, a member of the racketeer gang, are arrested. The gang- 
ster leader induces Baxter to take the blame, promising 
to get him off with a light sentence; but he double-crosses 
Baxter, who is given a two-year sentence. Jordan is sent 
to reform school. Feeling sorry for Jordan, Miss Blondell 
decides to help him ; but the only way she could get him 
out of reform school was to have a married couple take 
him into their home. She induces Pat O'Brien, her fiance 
reporter, to marry her ; he is furious when he learns what 
she intended to do. But when Miss Blondell takes Jordan 
into their home, O'Brien takes a liking to him. Under 
their influence, Jordan changes for the better, and noes to 
work as a photographer-assistant to O'Brien. Baxter 
escapes from prison; Jordan meets him and gives him the 



money he had obtained by pawning his camera. Jordan 
pleads with him not to get into trouble, but Baxter is deter- 
termined to kill his double-crossing leader. Jordan follows 
him ; in the meantime the police look for him on a theft 
charge, of which he was innocent. Baxter and the leader 
shoot at each other, and both die. Jordan is comforted by 
Miss Blondell and O'Brien, who prove his innocence. 

Saul Elkins and Sally Sandlin wrote the story, and Earl 
Baldwin, Niven Busch, Laurent Kimble and Robert Buck- 
ner, the screen play ; James Flood directed it and Sam 
Bischoff produced it. In the cast are Joe Cunningham, Ed 
Gargan, and others. 

Since the regeneration is stressed, it is suitable for chil- 
dren. Class A. 



"Pride of the Navy" with James Dunn 
and Rochelle Hudson 

(Republic, Feb. 20; time, 63 min.) 
Fair program entertainment. Although the story is 
familiar, the spectator's interest is held fairly well for the 
action is fast, at times amusing, and occasionally dramatic. 
One is held in suspense in the two situations where a new 
type torpedo boat is tested. James Dunn's wisecracking 
proves slightly irksome at times, causing the spectator to 
resent his attitude ; but he redeems himself in the end by 
helping a friend. The romance is routine : — 

Gordon Oliver, a lieutenant in the Navy, unable to find 
out what was wrong with the torpedo boat he had designed 
for the Navy, decides to call in his friend (Dunn), a speed 
boat racer, who was an expert. Dunn at first refuses to 
give up his time for what he considered trifles ; but when 
he meets Rochelle Hudson, the commander's daughter, he 
changes his mind. The new boat is built under Dunn's 
instructions ; but he expresses dissatisfaction with it. The 
night before the test, he quarrels with Oliver, who thought 
that Dunn's intentions towards Miss Hudson were not seri- 
ous ; Dunn is ordered to leave. His mechanic and old friend 
(Horace MacMahon) refuses to leave with him. Instead he 
and Oliver test the boat; they meet with an accident and 
both are injured. Conscience-stricken, Dunn returns with 
new ideas. He perfects the boat and in a difficult test proves 
the boat's worth. He proposes to Miss Hudson; but, since 
she insisted that the man she would marry would have to 
be in the Navy, Dunn is compelled to enlist. 

James Webb and Joseph Hoffman wrote the story, and 
Ben Markson and Saul Elkins, the screen play ; Charles 
Lamont directed it, and Herman Schlom produced it. In 
the cast are Charlotte Wynters, Joseph Crehan, and Charles 
Trowbridge. 

Suitability, Class A. 



"Torchy Blane in Chinatown" with Glenda 
Farrell and Barton MacLane 

(First Nat'l., Feb. 4; time, 57 min.) 
A pretty good program melodrama. Done in the same 
breezy style as the other pictures in this series, it manages, 
despite a far-fetched story, to hold one's attention through- 
out because of the mystifying plot. The action moves along 
at a fast pace, alternating comedy with melodramatic situ- 
ations. Average audiences may be surprised at the solu- 
tion; but it will be simple for intelligent spectators to 
detect the identity of the plotters. The romance between 
the hero and the heroine is minimized : — 

Glenda Farrell, newspaper reporter, is angry when her 
police-inspector fiance (Barton MacLane) refuses to give 
her any information on a new case he was working on. He 
was protecting the life of Anderson Lawlor, who had re- 
ceived threatening notes, written in Chinese, informing 
him he would be killed because he had smuggled out of 
China three burial tablets, which he had sold to Henry 
O'Neill. Lawlor is supposedly killed, and so is his com- 
panion (James Stephenson). In the meantime, the young 
millionaire fiance of O'Neill's daughter receives a note 
threatening him with death unless he turned over $250,000 
as designated. Miss Farrell, by following MacLane, gets 
all the facts and offers suggestions to him; but he refuses 
to listen to her. Eventually the case is solved. It turns out 
that Lawlor and Stephenson, who had really not been 
killed, and another companion (Patric Knowles) were the 
conspirators who had themselves sent the threatening notes 
so as to get the $250,000 and throw the suspicion on some 
one else. 

Will Jenkins and Murray Leinster wrote the story, and 
George Bricker, the screen play ; William Beaudine di- 
rected it, and Bryan Foy produced it. In the cast are Tom 
Kennedy, Janet Shaw, and Frank Shannon. 

Unsuitable for children. Class B. 



20 



HARRISON'S REPORTS 



February 4, 1939 



USING THE SCREEN FOR CARRYING 
THE MESSAGE OF DEMOCRACY'S 
BLESSINGS 

In these clays of world strife, many exhibitors have felt 
that the screen should by all means be utilized for spread- 
ing the message of democracy and for arousing the patriotic 
fervor of the people in this country; they feel that this is 
the only way by which invidious propaganda from totali- 
tarian countries may be counteracted. 

Warner Bros, has, as most of you no doubt know, already 
produced six Americanization shorts, in natural colors, 
and it is now producing six more. 

I have seen one of these short features, "Declaration of 
Independence," and desire to say that, in addition to its 
being a fine patriotic subject, it is excellent entertainment. 

Every exhibitor should book, not only these shorts, but 
others, no matter whether they are released by Warner 
Bros, or by any of the other companies. I feel sure that 
picture-patrons will enjoy them. 



BOX-OFFICE PERFORMANCES OF 
1938-39 SEASON'S PICTURES— No. 4 
RfCO 

1937- 38 

"Smashing the Rackets," with Chester Morris, Frances 
Mercer, and Bruce Cabot, produced by B. P. Fineman and 
directed by Lew Landers, from a screen play by Lionel 
Houser : Good-Fair. 

"Breaking the Ice," with Bobby Breen, Charles Ruggles, 
and Dolores Costello, produced by Sol Lesser and directed 
by Edward F. Cline, from a screen play by Mary McCall, 
Jr., Manuel Seff, and Bernard Schubert: Good-Fair. 

"Carefree," with Ginger Rogers and Fred Astaire, pro- 
duced by Pandro S. Berman and directed by Mark Sand- 
rich, from a screen play by Ernest Pagano and Allan Scott : 
Very Good-Good. 

"The Renegade Ranger," with George O'Brien and Rita 
Hayworth, produced by Bert Gilroy and directed by David 
Howard, from a screen play by Oliver Drake: Fair- Poor. 

Forty-five pictures have been released. Grouping the 
pictures of the different ratings, including the Westerns, 
from the beginning of the season, we get the following 
results : 

Excellent-Good, 2; Very Good-Good, 2; Good-Fair, 9; 
Good-Poor, 7; Fair, 8; Fair-Poor, 15; Poor. 2. 

Forty-six pictures were released in the 1936-37 season. 
They were rated as follows : 

Excellent-Fair, 1 ; Very Good-Good, 2; Good, 4; Good- 
^"air, 11 ; Fair, 12; Fair-Poor, 12; Poor, 4. 

1938- 39 

"The Affairs of Annabel," with Jack Oakie and Lucille 
Ball, produced by Lou Lusty and directed by Ben Stoloff, 
from a screen play by Bert Granet and Paul Yawitz : Good- 
Fair. 

"Fugitives For a Night," with Frank Albertson and 
Eleanor Lynn, produced by Lou Lusty and directed by 
Leslie Goodwins, from a screen play by Dalton Trumbo: 
Fair. 

"Room Service," with the Marx Brothers, Lucille Ball, 
and Frank Albertson, produced by Pandro S. Berman and 
directed by William Seiter, from a screen play by Morrie 
Ryskind: Good-Fair. 

"Mr. Doodle Kicks Oft," with Joe Penner and June 
Travis, produced by Robert Sisk and directed by Leslie 
Goodwins, from a screen play by Bert Granet: Gojd-Fair. 

"A Man to Remember," with Edward Ellis, Anne Shir- 
ley, and Lee Bowman, produced by Robert Sisk and di- 
rected by Garson Kanin, from a screen play by Dalton 
Trumbo : Good. 

"The Mad Miss Manton," with Barbara Stanwyck and 
Henry Fonda, produced by P. J. Wolfson and directed by 
Leigh Jason, from a screen play by Philip G. Epstein: 
Good-Fair. 

"Tarnished Angel," with Sally Filers, Lee Bowman, and 
Ann Miller, produced by H. P. Fineman and directed by 
Leslie Goodwins, from a screen play by Jo Pagano: Fair- 
Poor. 

"Lawless Valley," with George O'Brien and Kay Sut- 
ton, produced by Bert Gilroy and directed by David How- 
ard, from a screen play by Oliver Drake : Fair-Poor. 

"Annabel Takes a Tour," with Jack Oakie and Lucille 
Ball, produced by Lou Lusty and directed by Lew Landers, 



from the screen play by Bert Granet and Olive Cooper : 
Good-Fair. 

Nine pictures have already been released. Grouping the 
pictures of the different ratings from the beginning of the 
season, we get the following results: 

Good, 1 ; Good-Fair, 5; Fair, 1 ; Fair-Poor, 2. 

The first nine pictures in the 1937-38 season were rated 
as follows : 

Excellent-Good, 1 ; Good- Fair, 1 ; Fair, 4; Fair-Poor, 3. 
20th Century-Fox 
1938-39 

"Gateway," with Don Ameche and Arlenc Whelan, pro- 
duced by Samuel G. Engel and directed by Alfred YYerker, 
from a screen play by Lamar Trotti : Good-Poor. 

"Keep Smiling," with Jane Withers, Gloria Stuart, and 
Henry Wilcoxon, produced by John Stone and directed by 
Herbert I. Leeds, from a screen play by Frances Hyland 
and Albert Ray : Good-Fair. 

"Alexander's Ragtime Band," with Alice Faye, Tyrone 
Power, and Don Ameche, produced by Harry Joe Brown 
and directed by Henry King, from a screen play by Kath- 
ryn Scola and Lamar Trotti : Excellent. 

"Speed To Burn," with Michael Whalen and Lynn Bari, 
produced by Jerry Hoffman and directed by Otto Browcr, 
from a screen play by Robert Ellis and Helen Logan : Fair. 

"My Lucky Star," with Sonja Henie and Richard 
Greene, produced by Harry Joe Brown and directed by 
Roy Del Ruth, from a screen play by Harry Tugend and 
Jack Yellen: Very Good-Fair. 

"Safety in Numbers," with Jed Prouty, Spring Bying- 
ton, and Shirley Deane, produced by John Stone and di- 
rected by Malcolm St. Clair, from a screen play by Joseph 
Hoffman, Karen DeWolf and Robert Shapin: Fair. 

"Hold That Coed," with George Murphy, Marjorie 
Weaver, and John Barrymore, produced by David Hemp- 
stead and directed by George Marshall, from a screen play 
by Karl Tunberg, Don Ettlinger, and Jack Yellen : Good- 
Fair. 

"Time Out For Murder," with Michael Whalen and 
Gloria Stuart, produced by Howard J. Green and directed 
by H. Bruce Humberstone, from a screen play by Jerry 
Cady : Good-Fair. 

"Straight, Place and Show," with the Ritz Brothers, 
Phyllis Brooks and Richard Arlen, produced by David 
Hempstead and directed by David Butler, from a screen 
play by M. M. Musselman and Allen Rivkin: Good-Fair. 

"Meet the Girls," with Lynn Bari and June Lang, pro- 
duced by Howard J. Green and directed by Eugene Forde, 
from a screen play by Marguerite Roberts: Fair-Poor. 

"Five of a Kind," with the Dionnc Quintuplets, Jean 
Hersholt, Claire Trevor, and Cesar Romero, directed by 
Herbert I. Leeds, from a screen play by Lou Breslow and 
John Patrick: Good-Fair. 

"Mysterious Mr. Moto," with Peter Lorre, Mary Ma- 
guire and Henry Wilcoxon, produced by Sol M. Wurtze! 
and directed by Norman Foster, from a screen play by 
Phillip MacDonald and Norman Foster: Good-Fair. 

"Suez." with Tyrone Power, Loretta Young, and Anna- 
bella, produced by Gene Markey and directed by Allan 
Dwan. from a screen play by Philip Dunne and Julien 
Josephson : Very Good-Good. 

"Always in Trouble," with Jane Withers, Andrew 
Tombes, and Jean Rogers, produced by John Stone and 
directed by Joseph Santley, from a screen play by Karen 
DeWolf and Robert Chapin : Good-Fair. 

"Just Around the Corner," with Shirley Temple, Charles 
Farrell, and Joan Davis, produced by David Hempstead 
and directed by Irving Cummings, from a screen play bv 
Ethel Hill, J. P. McEvoy, and Darrell Ware: Very Good- 
Good. 

"Sharpshooters," with Brian Donlevy, Lynn Bari, and 
John King, produced by Sol M. Wurtzel and directed by 
James Tinling, from a screen play by Robert Ellis and 
Helen Logan : Fair. 

Sixteen pictures have already been released. Grouping 
the pictures of the different ratings from the beginning of 
the season, we get the following results : 

Excellent, 1; Very Good-Good, 2; Very Good-Fair, 1; 
Good-Fair, 7; Good-Poor, 1; Fair, 3; Fair-Poor, 1. 

The first sixteen pictures in the 1937-38 season were 
rated as follows : 

Excellent, 1 ; Excellent-Very Good, 1 ; Excellent-Good, 
1 ; Very Good-Good, 2 ; Very Good-Fair, 1 ; Good-Fair, 4 ; 
Good-Poor, 2; Fair. 3; Fair-Poor, 1. 



Entered as second-class matter January 4, 1921, at the post office at New York, New York, under the act of March 3, 1879. 



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A REVIEWING SERVICE FREE FROM THE INFLUENCE OF FILM ADVERTISING 

Vol. XXI SATURDAY, FEBRUARY 11, 1939 No. 6 



REAPING THE WHIRLWIND 

For years the independent exhibitors have been 
protesting to the producers for permitting their 
stars to take part in radio broadcasts sponsored 
either by themselves or by others, but in every in- 
stance they were told by these producers that the 
appearance of these stars in radio shows not only 
did not do any harm, but it did much good, in that, 
as they said, it advertised both the stars and the 
pictures they appeared in. 

The exhibitors knew from experience, of course, 
that the producers were wrong, for they felt it at 
the box office on the nights the stars were and still 
are broadcasting ; but they could do nothing about 
it. 

As a matter of logic, the producers ought to have 
known that the taking part in broadcasts of names 
such as Jack Benny, Tyrone Power, Nelson Eddy, 
Don Ameche, Herbert Marshall, Loretta Young, 
Fred Astaire, Joan Bennett, Myrna Loy, Gary 
Grant, the Marx Bros., Ronald Colman. Carole 
Lombard and of many others, on the same night, 
although on different programs, could not help 
giving a hard blow to the box office, but they 
seemed not to have realized it ; it is onlv now, when 
receipts in all but the most outstanding pictures 
have reached the lowest in any period of the his- 
tory of motion picture exhibition, that they are 
beginning to realize it. 

Radio is a formidable competitor to motion pic- 
tures, by reason of the fact that the radio people 
are a more progressive lot than are the motion 
picture people, and are not fettered with politics, 
such as is the motion picture industry : since the 
provider of radio entertainment must give an ac- 
counting for the sort of show he produces to the 
advertiser directly and not to the public, as is the 
case with the motion picture industry, he stands or 
falls by the quality of the entertainment he can 
produce, for unless it is of high quality, the adver- 
tiser will look to someone else for his entertain- 
ment ; he pays thousands of dollars for the privi- 
lege of reaching the public during the hour he 
sponsors, and he cannot afford to give the public 
poor, or even fair, entertainment. As a result, the 
providers of radio entertainment are wide awake. 
Every week they bring out something new to keep 
the listeners in at home, away from motion pic- 
tures. The standard they have in mind when they 
get together their entertainment is motion picture 
entertainment exclusively. It is what the motion 
picture theatre offers that they arc trying to outdo 
— nothing else. 

If any producer has any doubt that this is so, all 
he has to do is to look into his box-office receipts: 
he will find that his top-notch pictures, the very 
best of them, outdraw the top-notch pictures of 
former years, but his other pictures don't draw a 
Corporal's guard — less than half of what pictures 



of similar grade used to draw in former years. The 
reason for it is the fact that it takes a powerful 
picture to draw people away from their radio at 
home, particularly during bad weather, when the 
comforts of home make the radio more attractive. 

Recently The Hollywood Reporter said: "The 
greatest worry in this picture business today is the 
continued falling off in audience attendance, which 
is happening right at a time when the producers 
believe they are making the finest and most ex- 
pensive pictures that have ever come out of any 
studio. Exhibitors, distributors and producers are 
getting frantic because of the attendance drop ; 
nothing seems to accelerate box-office reaction that 
WAS in other days. . . ." 

Two things the producers must do to bring to 
the theatres normal attendance : discontinue either 
sponsoring radio hours or permitting their stars 
to take part in radio broadcasts, and make a greater 
number of high-grade pictures. 

Television is to begin this spring, and unless they 
take steps to mend their fences, they will find them- 
selves before another formidable competitor. 



BOX-OFFICE PERFORMANCES OF 
1938-39 SEASON'S PICTURES— No. 5 

United Artists 
1938-39 

"Algiers," with Charles Boyer, Hedy LaMarr. 
and Sigrid Gurie, produced by Walter Wanger and 
directed by John Cromwell, from a screen play by 
John Howard Lawson : Yerv Good-Fair. 

"Drums," with Sabu, Raymond Massey, Roger 
Livesev, and Valerie Hobson, produced by Alex- 
ander Korda and directed by Joltan Korda. from a 
screen play by Arthur Wimperis, Patric Kirwan, 
and Hugh Gray : Good-Fair. 

"There Goes My Heart." with Fredric March. 
Virginia Bruce, and Patsy Kelly, produced by Hal 
Roach and directed by Norman Z. McLeod. from 
a screen play by Eddie Moran and Jack Jevne : 
Good- Fair. 

"The Young in Heart," with Janet Gaynor. 
Douglas Fairbanks, Jr., Billie Burke, Roland 
Young, and Paulette Goddard, produced by David 
O. Selznick and directed by Richard Wallace, from 
a screen play by Paul Osborn : Very Good-Good. 

Four pictures have already been released. Group- 
ing the pictures of the different ratings from the 
beginning of the season, we get these results: 

Very Good-Good, 1 ; Verv Good- Fair, 1 : Good- 
Fair, 2. 

The first four pictures in the 1937-38 season 
were rated as follows : 

Excellent-Very Good. 1; Excellent-Good, I; 
Good-Poor, 1 ; Fair-Poor, I. 

(Continued on last page) 



22 



HARRISON'S REPORTS 



February 11, 1939 



"Idiot's Delight" with Norma Shearer 
and Clark Gable 

(MGM , January 27; time, \Q6]/> mm.) 

Very good adult entertainment. Its appeal will be di- 
rected more to class audiences than to the masses, because 
of the overabundance of dialogue. The action moves at 
a fairly lively pace in the first half, but the second half 
is typical of a stage play, with all the action concentrated 
in one room. Considering the jxipularity of the two stars, 
however, it should draw well at the box-office. In adapting 
it from the stage play, the producer eliminated some of the 
strong anti-war propaganda and refrained from mentioning 
the names of the countries responsihle for war. But enough 
is said by the characters, especially by Burgess Meredith, 
to make one realize that war is horrible and futile. The 
romance between Gable and Miss Shearer is slightly on the 
sordid side ; but, as a result of their excellent performances, 
one cannot help feeling sympathy for both of them: — 

After the World War, Gable goes hack to his profession 
as a vaudeville actor. While playing in Omaha, he meets 
Miss Shearer, member of an acrobatic troupe; they spend 
the night together at a hotel and part the next morning. 
Years later they meet again, at a European frontier hotel. 
Gal)le and a group of girls, with whom he had been touring 
throughout Europe, are unable to proceed because of 
frontier trouble and expected air raids. Miss Shearer, wear- 
ing a blond wig and talking with a Russian accent, ar- 
rives with Edward Arnold, a powerful munitions manu- 
facturer. Gable recognizes her from the fantastic stories 
she tells about herself — that she was a Russian princess, 
and had visited royalty all over Europe. She, too, recog- 
nizes him but pretends she does not know him. Everyone 
prepares to leave the next day. But Arnold, who was an- 
noyed at Miss Shearer for having told him the truth alxnit 
himself, wants to get rid of her ; he refuses to vouch for 
her passport and so she is detained. Everyone leaves, in- 
cluding Gable. But he returns to help Miss Shearer. It is 
then that she drops her accent and acknowledges her iden- 
tity. Together, arm in arm, they watch the bombing that 
had started, expecting to meet with death. Their lives 
are spared ; happily, they look forword to a new life 
together. 

Robert E. Sherwood wrote the screen play from his own 
stage play ; Clarence Brown directed it, and Hunt Strom- 
berg produced it. In the cast are Charles Coburn. Joseph 
Schildkraut, Laura Hope Crews, Skeets Gallagher, and 

others. 

Unsuitable for children and adolescents. Class B. 



"Navy Secrets" with Fay Wray 
and Grant Withers 

(Monogram, February I ; time, 60 mm.) 

A moderately entertaining espionage melodrama. The 
plot developments are obvious and so the spectator is held 
only in fair suspense. Furthermore, too much footage is 
wasted in the romantic sequences, thus slowing up the ac- 
tion. Towards the end, the action becomes quite exciting, 
culminating in the roundup of the spy ring : — 

Craig Reynolds, an officer in the United States Navy, is 
arrested for having sold government plans to foreign 
agents. Grant Withers, a Federal investigator posing as a 
sailnr friend of Reynolds', wins the confidence of Fay 
Wray, supposedly Reynolds' fiancee. Pretending that he 
had stamps belonging to Reynolds, which he was supposed 
to turn over to some man whose name he had forgotten, he 
induces Miss Wray to take him to the different places she 
used to frequent with Reynolds. They finally locate the man 
they wanted ; he was the leader of the spy ring. But when 
he discovers that he was trapped, he tries to kill Withers 
and Miss Wray. The police, who had been notified in 
advance by Miss Wray, arrive in time to save them, and 
to round up the gang. Withers learns, to his surprise, 
that Miss Wray, too was a federal agent, working on 
the same case. He is happy, for he had fallen in love 
witli her. 

Steve Fisher wrote the story, and Harvey Gates, the 
screen play; Howard Bretherton directed it, and William 
Lackey produced it. In the cast are Dewey Robinson, 
George Sorel, and others. 

Suitability, Class A. 



"Boy Trouble" with Charlie Ruggles 
and Mary Boland 

{Paramount, February 17 ; time, 73 min.) 

A fairly pleasant program comedy, with human appeal. 
Several situations touch one's emotions because of the ap- 
pealing way in which they are played by two youngsters 
( Billy Lee and Donald O'Connor). In the first half, com- 
edy predominates ; but as the story develops it becomes a 
little more dramatic, ending on a sentimental note. The 
romantic interest is routine: — 

Charlie Ruggles, a department store clerk in a boys' 
department, hates his work for he had to contend with an 
irritable manager and witli cranky boy customers. He is 
irritated further when he learns that his daughter ("Joyce 
Mathews) was in love with John Hartley, a wise-cracking 
young man who had been the cause of Ruggles' paying a 
fine in an automobile accident ; he orders Hartley out of the 
house. Hartley sneaks in the following morning and con- 
vinces Miss Boland that Ruggles was irritable because he 
missed having a son in his own home. Unknown to Ruggles, 
she adopts six-year old Billy Lee from an orphanage. 
Ruggles is enraged when she breaks the news to him ; he 
puts Billy in his car to take him back to the orphanage. On 
the way, Ruggles knocks down Donald O'Connor, another 
orphan, and returns home with both boys. Seeking peace 
one night, he goes to a neighbor's house, where the two boys 
follow him; they reveal that Billy had scarlet fever. Since 
the neighbor was out, the three are quarantined in her 
house. During the time that he treats Billy, Ruggles real- 
izes what the two boys meant to him. Billv recovers, and 
Ruggles goes back to work. When he hears that the orphan- 
age intended taking Billy back, he gives up his job so as to 
rush to the board meeting to present his case. He so im- 
presses the chairman of the board that, not only does he 
permit him to keep Billy, but also offers him a good posi- 
tion. Everyone is happy ; Ruggles even forgives Hartley. 

Lloyd Corrigan and Monte Brice wrote the story, and 
Laura and S. J. Perelman, the screen play ; George Ar- 
chainbaud directed it. In the cast are Andrew Tombes, 
Dick Elliott, Zeffie Tilbury, and others. 

Suitability, Class A. 



"Nancy Drew, Reporter" with Bonita 
Granville and Frankie Thomas, Jr. 

(First National, February 18; time, 68 win.) 

Good program fare. Should the "Nancy Drew" pictures 
to follow continue to be as entertaining as this one. there is 
no doubt that the series will become popular. This one 
should amuse both young and old ; it alternates between 
comedy and melodrama, holding the spectator's attention 
throughout. Bonita Granville and Frankie Thomas, Jr., 
continuing in the roles they created in "Nancy Drew. De- 
tective," act their respective parts with conviction. They 
are aided considerably by two youngsters (Mary Lee and 
Dickie Jones), who make nuisances of themselves. Most 
of the laughter is provoked by the antics of these two 
children. One musical number has been interpolated in a 
clever way and is quite entertaining : — 

Tn line with her school work in journalism, Miss Gran- 
ville and a few other students are given the privilege of 
working on a real newspaper, with the understanding that 
the one who would turn in the best story would receive a 
cash award and a medal. Dissatisfied with the assignment 
given to her. Miss Granville, unknown to the editor, 
switches assignments with a regular reporter. She covers 
an inquest on a murder case, and, from the testimony, de- 
cides that the girl who was being held for the murder was 
not guilty. The editor, of course, refuses to listen to her ; 
and so she proceeds with the investigation on her own. She 
enlists the aid of Thomas, who reluctantly agrees to help 
her. They are hampered at times in their work by Thomas' 
young sister and brother. Eventually Miss Granville and 
Thomas obtain the necessary evidence, proving that the 
accused girl was innocent ; they help the police to appre- 
hend the real criminal. 

The plot was adapted from the stories by Carolyn Keene. 
Kenneth Garnet wrote the screen play ; William Clemens 
directed it, and Bryan Foy produced it. In the cast are John 
Litel, Sheila Bromley, Larry Williams, Thomas Jackson, 
and others. 

Suitability, Class A. 



February 11, 1939 



HARRISON'S REPORTS 



23 



"Tailspin" with Alice Faye, Nancy Kelly 
and Constance Bennett 

(20th Century-Fox, February 10; time, 83 l / 2 min.) 
Just fair entertainment. It offers little in the way of stunt 
flying that has not already been shown to better advantage 
in other aeroplane pictures. The only novelty is that in this 
case the flyers are women. There is just one tense situation 
■ — that in which Edward Norris, a test pilot, goes to his 
death. This touches the spectator because of the unhappi- 
ness it brings to Norris' wife (Nancy Kelly). The story 
lacks dramatic power and human appeal, for the actions of 
the characters are not such as to awaken one's sympathy. 
Even the romantic involvements are vague. Alice Faye puts 
over one song well ; otherwise she is wasted in a part that 
makes little use of her talents : — 

Miss Faye, who had given up her position in a cafe to 
compete in an aeroplane race for women, loses the race be- 
cause of a motor defect which grounds her. But, despite 
straitened circumstances, she is determined to try again. 
Together with her friend and assistant (Joan Davis), she 
flies to the air field where an important race for women was 
to be held. Everyone's hopes are high until Constance Ben- 
nett, a wealthy society girl, arrives with her powerful plane. 
The other flyers feel it would be unfair of her to compete 
in a race that meant nothing to her and everything to them. 
Norris' sudden death while testing a new plane makes 
everyone miserable; his wife, a flyer, unable to stifle her 
grief, goes to her death in his plane. Miss Bennett shows 
herself to be a good sport when she leaves the race, even 
though she was leading, in order to permit Miss Faye to 
win. Something goes wrong with Miss Bennett's motor and 
she is forced to make a parachute jump; she is injured. 
Miss Faye, who was in love with Kane Richmond, Miss 
Bennett's fiance, forgets her feelings for him when she 
realizes that it was Miss Bennett he really loved. She ac- 
cepts an offer for a lucrative position with an oil company, 
and leaves with Miss Davis and Charles Farrell, an expert 
mechanic, who had helped her out in times of need. 

Frank Wead wrote the original screen play, Roy Del 
Ruth directed it, and Harry Joe Brown produced it. In the 
cast are Jane Wyman, Wally Vernon, Harry Davenport, 
and others. 

Suitability, Class A. 

"Homicide Bureau" with Bruce Cabot 
and Rita Hayworth 

(Columbia, February IS; time, 59 min.) 
Fairly good program entertainment, suitable for theatres 
that cater to audiences who go in for racketeer melodramas. 
The story in itself is not new ; however, it holds one's at- 
tention for it is developed logically, with fast and exciting 
action. An interesting angle is that which shows how 
police officers, through seemingly unimportant clues, work 
out their cases. Both the comedy and romantic interest are 
kept in the background, so as not to interfere with the 
action : — 

Bruce Cabot, a detective with the police force, is annoyed 
at the restrictions placed upon his department by interfer- 
ing civic organizations, who demanded that police eliminate 
brute force in their dealings with criminals ; at the same 
time these same organizations were demanding that some- 
thing be done about the crime wave. When another murder 
is committed, Cabot arrests Marc Lawrence, a gangster, 
who had been identified by the owner of the store where the 
murder had been committed. Again the civic organizations 
interfere, claiming that Cabot had arrested Lawrence only 
because he was a former convict. Lawrence is released and 
Cabot is taken off the case ; but he decides to keep investi- 
gating it on his own. He finds out that Lawrence was con- 
nected with a gang of racketeers who were forcing junk 
dealers to sell their scrap metal to them, which they in turn 
were selling to foreign nations. Cabot is instrumental in 
saving from death his superior officer, who had been 
trapped by the racketeers. Lawrence and the gang confess 
to the murders and to their illegal business dealings with 
foreign nations. Cabot is praised by the civic organizations 
that had condemned him ; he is promoted. He and Rita 
Hayworth, a chemist who worked for the police depart- 
ment, admit their love for each other. 

Earle Snell wrote the screen play, and C. C. Coleman, Jr., 
directed it. In the cast are Richard Siske, Moroni Olsen, 
Norman Willis, and others. 

The murders make it unsuitable for children. Class B. 



"Fisherman's Wharf" with Bobby Breen, 
Leo Carrillo and Henry Armetta 

(RKO [1937-38], February 3; time, 71 mm.) 
This is one of Bobby Breen's best pictures. The story, 
although familiar, is a pleasant mixture of comedy and 
drama, with deep human appeal. The fact that Bobby is 
not made to carry the burden of the story entirely on his 
own shoulders is to the picture's benefit ; as a matter of fact 
the burden falls on Leo Carrillo and Henry Armetta, and 
they both come through with excellent performances. Ros- 
ina Galli adds to the gaiety by her chatter. Bobby sings a 
few songs, which are cleverly interpolated so as not to 
interfere with the action. The picturesque San Francisco 
Bay makes an interesting background. For children, there 
is the added attraction of Slicker, the trained seal, who 
should delight them with his tricks : — 

Motherless Bobby and his father (Carrillo), a fisherman, 
are great pals. During his school vacation, Bobby goes out 
fishing with his father and Armetta. Each day is ended 
with a delicious dinner at Carrillo's home, cooked by Miss 
Galli, his housekeeper. Armetta had been proposing to her 
for twenty years without any success. The peace of the 
household is disrupted when Carrillo's sister-in-law (Lee 
Patrick), a widow, arrives with her son (Tommy Bupp). 
Miss Galli is disgusted and leaves the house ; she marries 
Armetta. By following the advice of Miss Patrick in busi- 
ness matters, Carrillo makes enemies of his former asso- 
ciates. Tommy makes life miserable for Bobby. He finally 
tells Bobby that he was an orphan and that Carrillo was 
not his real father. Bobby runs away. Carrillo's eyes are 
finally opened as to what was happening in his home. He 
orders Miss Patrick to leave with her son; he then goes 
after Bobby. He assures Bobby that even though he was 
only his adopted son he loved him as if he were his own. 
Everyone is happy again. 

Bernard Schubert, Ian Hunter, and Herbert C. Lewis 
wrote the screen play ; Bernard Vorhaus directed it. and 
Sol Lesser produced it. In the cast are George Humbert, 
Leon Belasco, and others. 

Suitability, Class A. 



"Four Girls in White" with Florence Rice 
and Alan Marshall 

(MGM, January 27; time, 73 min.) 
Just fair program entertainment. The story is not par- 
ticularly engrossing ; as a matter of fact it is unpleasant in 
some respects, particularly in the characterization of the 
heroine. Not until the closing scenes does she redeem her- 
self and win one's sympathy. Most of the action in the first 
half centers around hospital routine work; these scenes are 
neither novel nor exciting. The picture depends mainly on 
the closing scenes for its dramatic power ; there nurses and 
doctors are shown assisting those who had been injured in 
a train wreck. These scenes have been handled realistically 
and with considerable excitement : — 

Florence Rice and her sister (Ann Rutherford) enter a 
hospital to study nursing. Miss Rice's sole purpose in tak- 
ing up that profession was to ensnare a rich husband — 
either a doctor or a patient. Alan Marshall, the chief sur- 
geon, falls in love with her, and they see each other fre- 
quently. But she becomes annoyed at his devotion to his 
hospital duties and tries to induce him to give them up for a 
private practice ; but he refuses. They quarrel and part. 
When Kent Taylor, a wealthy playboy, is brought to the 
hospital. Miss Rice manages to take care of him. He asks 
her and her sister to spend their vacation on his yacht, to 
which they agree. Taylor falls in love with Miss Ruthford, 
and Miss Rice goes back to the hospital. She is met with 
hostile glances on her return. A nurse (Mary Howard), 
who had lost her vacation because she had covered up for 
Miss Rice, who had violated a hospital rule, had been killed 
by an insane patient during the time when she really should 
have been away from the hospital. Miss Rice is heartbroken. 
She redeems herself when she risks her life at the scene of 
a train wreck to help those who were injured. She and 
Marshall are reconciled. 

Nathalie Buckuall and Endre Bohem wrote the story, 
and Dorothy Yost, the screen play ; S. Sylvan Simon di- 
rected it, and Nat Levine produced it. In the cast are Una 
Merkel, Buddy K.bsen, Jessie Ralph, Sara Haden, and 
others. 

Suitability, Class A. 



24 



HARRISON'S REPORTS 



February 11, 1939 



Universal 

1937- 38 

"The Missing Guest," with Paul Kelly and 
Constance Moore, produced by Barney A. Sarecky 
and directed hy John Rawlins, from a screen play 
bv Charles Martin and Paul Perez: Fair-Poor. 

"That Certain Age/' with Deanna Durhin, Mel- 
vyn Douglas, and Jackie Cooper, produced by Joe 
Pasternak and directed by Edward Ludwig, from 
a screen play by Bruce Manning : Very Good. 

Fifty pictures, including Westerns, were re- 
leased. Grouping the pictures of the different rat- 
ings from the beginning of the season, we get the 
following results : 

Excellent- Very Good, 1 ; Excellent-Good, 1 ; 
Very Good, 1 ; Very Good-Good, 3; Very Good- 
Fair, 1; Good-Fair, 7; Good-Poor, 1; Fair, 15; 
Fair- Poor, 19; Poor, 1. 

Thirtv-three pictures, excluding Westerns, were 
released during the 1936-37 season. They were 
rated as follows : 

Excellent. 1 ; Excellent-Very Good, 1 ; Very 
Good-Good, 1 ; Good, 2; Good-Fair, 3; Fair, 13; 
Fair- Poor, 12. 

1938- 39 

"Dark Rapture," with native cast, produced by 
Armand Denis and Leila Roosevelt and directed 
liv Armand Denis: Good-Poor. 

"Freshman Year," with Constance Moore and 
William Lundigan, produced by George R. Bilson 
and directed by Frank MacDonald, from a screen 
play bv Charles Grayson : Fair. 

"Personal Secretary," with William Gargan and 
Joy Hodges, produced by Max H. Golden and di- 
rected by Otis Garrett, from a screen play by Rob- 
ert Lively, Betty Laidlaw, and Charles Grayson: 
Fair-Poor. 

"Black Bandit," with Bob Baker and Marjorie 
Reynolds, produced by Trem Carr and directed by 
George Waggner, from a screen play by Joseph 
West : Fair. 

"Road to Reno," with Randolph Scott, Hope 
Hampton, and Helen Broderick, produced by Ed- 
mund Grainger and directed by S. Sylvan Simon, 
from a screen play by Roy Chansler and Adele 
Comandini : Fair-Poor. 

"Youth Takes a Fling." with Joel McCrea and 
Andrea Leeds, produced by Joe Pasternak and 
directed bv Archie Mayo, from a screen play by 
Mvles Connolly and Tom Reed: Good-Fair. 

"Swing That Cheer," with Robert Wilcox, Tom 
Brown, and Constance Moore, produced by Max 
H. Golden and directed by David Schuster, from 
a screen play by Charles Grayson and Lee Loeb : 
Fair. 

"Guilty Trail," with Bob Baker and Marjorie 
Reynolds, produced by Trem Carr and directed by 
George Waggner, from a screen play by Joseph 
West : Fair-Poor. 

"Service DeLuxe," with Constance Bennett. 
Charlie Ruggles and Vincent Price, produced by 
Edmund < rrainger and directed by Rowland V. 
Lee, from a screen play by Gertrude Purcell and 
Leonard Spi^elglass : Good-Fair. 

"The Storm," with Charles Bickford, Tom 
Brown, Preston Foster, and Nan Grey, produced 
by Ken Goldsmith and directed by Harold Young, 
from a screen play by Daniel Moore, Hugh King, 
and Theodore Reeves : Good-Fair. 

"The Last Express," with Kent Taylor and 
Dorothea Kent, produced by Irving Starr and di- 



"Exposed," with Glenda Farrell and Otto Kru- 
ger, produced by Max H. Golden and directed by 
I larold Schuster, from a screen play by Charles 
Kaufman and Franklin Coen : Fair. 

"Prairie Justice," with Bob Baker and Dorothy 
Fay, produced by Trem Carr and directed hy 
George Waggner, from a screen play by Joseph 
West : Fair- Poor. 

"His Exciting Night," with Charles Ruggles, 
Richard I^ane, and Ona Munson, produced by 
Ken Goldsmith and directed by Gus Meins, from 
a screen play by Pat C. Flice, Edward Eliscu and 
Morton Grant: Fair. 

Fourteen pictures have already been released. 
Grouping the pictures of the different ratings from 
the beginning of the season, we get these results: 

Good-Fair, 3; Good-Poor, 1; Fair, 6; Fair- 
Poor, 4. 

The first fourteen pictures in the 1937-38 season 
were rated as follows : 

Excellent-Very Good, 1 ; Good-Fair, 2 ; Fair, 4 ; 
Fair-Poor, 6; Poor, 1. 

Warner Bros. 

1937- 38 

"Boy Meets Girl," with James Cagney, Pat 
O'Brien, and Marie Wilson, produced by Sam 
Bischoff and directed by Lloyd Bacon, from a 
screen play by Bella and Samuel Spewack : Fair- 
Poor. 

Twenty-seven pictures have been released. 
Grouping the pictures of the different ratings from 
the beginning of the season, we get these results : 

Excellent-Very Good, 1 ; Very Good-Good, 5 ; 
Good, 1 ; Good-Fair, 5 ; Good-Poor, 6 ; Fair, 2 ; 
Fair-Poor, 7. 

Twenty-seven pictures were released during the 
1936-37 season. They were rated as follows : 

Very Good, 1 ; Very Good-Good, 3 ; Very Good- 
Poor, 1 ; Good, 3 ; Good-Fair, 6 ; Fair, 10 ; Fair- 
Poor, 3. 

1938- 39 

"Four's a Crowd," with Errol Flynn, Rosalind 
Russell, Olivia DeHavilland, and Patric Knowles, 
produced by David Lewis and directed by Michael 
Curtiz, from a screen play by Casey Robinson and 
Sig Herzig: Very Good-Good. 

"Valley of the Giants," with Wayne Morris, 
Claire Trevor, and Charles Bickford, produced by 
Lou Edelman and directed by William Keighley, 
from a screen play by Seton I. Miller and Michael 
Fessier : Good. 

"The Sisters," with Bette Davis and Errol 
Flynn, produced by David Lewis and directed by 
Anatole Litvak, from a screen play by W illiam 
Krims : Very Good-Good. 

"Hard to Get," with Dick Powell and Olivia 
DeHavilland, produced by Sam Bischoff and di- 
rected by Ray Enright. from a screen play by 
Richard Macauley, Jerry Wald, and Maurice Leo : 
Good-Fair. 

"Torchy Gets Her Man," with Glenda Farrell 
and Barton MacLane, produced by Bryan Foy and 
directed by William Beaudine, from a screen play 
by Albert DeMond : Good-Fair. 

Five pictures have so far been released. Group- 
ing the pictures of the different ratings from the 
beginning of the season, we get the following re- 
sults : 

Very Good-Good, 2 ; Good, 1 ; Good-Fair, 2. 
The first five pictures in the 1937-38 season were 
rated as follows : 



IN TWO SECTIONS— SECTION ONE 

Entered as second-class matter January 4, 1921, at the post office at New York, New York, under the act of March 3, 1879. 



T } 

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Vol. XXI SATURDAY, FEBRUARY 18, 1939 No. 7 



A SWEEPING COURT VICTORY 

On Monday, this week, the U. S. Supreme Court 
rendered a decision upholding the decision of the 
Dallas District Court in the case of United States 
vs. I nterstate Circuit et al. 

The case is now so old that many of you have, no 
doubt, forgotten its details ; a recapitulation of the 
facts should, therefore, prove helpful. 

In the spring of 1937, the Department of Justice 
brought suit in the Federal District Court for the 
Northern District (Dallas) of Texas against Inter- 
state Circuit, Inc., and Texas Consolidated Thea- 
tres, Inc., which companies operate more than one 
hundred theatres in that territory, seeking to have 
declared "unlawful and void" the provisions in the 
license agreements between distributors and subse- 
quent-run exhibitors, which agreements restricted 
the prices of admission and the right to exhibit two 
features on the same bill ; the suit sought also to 
enjoin such distributors from inserting in future 
contracts similar provisions. 

The distributors, who were made co-defendants, 
were : Columbia, MGM, Paramount, RKO, Twen- 
tieth Century-Fox, United Artists, Universal, and 
Vitagraph. 

In the suit the Government charged that the 
aforementioned circuits had, for several years, a 
virtual monopoly in first-run exhibition in some 
Texas towns, while in others they had been in 
active competition with subsequent-run independ- 
ent exhibitors ; and that these circuits demanded of 
the aforementioned distributors that, before sell- 
ing pictures to subsequent-run exhibitor competi- 
tors, they compel such exhibitors to sign an agree- 
ment to charge a minimum admission price of 25c 
and to refrain from showing two features on the 
same bill. The government charged that all these 
acts constituted a "combination, conspiracy and 
agreement to restrain trade or commerce in mo- 
tion picture films and to monopolize and attempt 
to monopolize their exhibition." 

Presiding Judge W illiam If. Atwell, after a 
trial, granted the relief the Government sought, set- 
ting down the reasons for his decision. Such deci- 
sion was, in the opinion of comj>etent legal author- 
ity, noteworthy ; it showed that Judge Atwell had a 
thorough comprehension of the problems involved 
in the distribution as well as exhibition of motion 
pictures. 

Conceding the fact that the copyright owner of 
motion picture films has the right to dispose of such 
films as he pleases, Judge Atwell remarked as fol- 
lows : "This well-defined right, however, will not 
justify his agreeing or combining with another 
person in order to deprive a third person of a com- 
plete freedom of contract. The copyright statute 
and the anti-trust statute are both in effect and 
vitally necessary." 



In order to explain clearly what he meant by 
this language, he made the further remarks : "The 
owner of the copyrighted article may contract with 
the exhibitor, without the intervention of any third 
mind, for full and free protection, both as to price 
and manner of use, but when the outside mind, with 
an interest to serve, steps into the picture, — the 
contracting room — and interjects, persuades and 
coerces the copyright owner to join with it in its 
protection, as against the party to whom the copy- 
right holder is selling or contracting, then and in 
that event there are two or more persons engaged 
on the side of the copyright holder, when the law 
gives only one privileges or immunities. Such a 
unity of minds, if it be in restraint of interstate 
commerce, is illegal. The copyright privileges do 
not save it from illegality. 

"The sharp issue — the battleground — of this 
case, is whether the respondents conspired together 
to bring about the fixing of the minimum 25c 
charge by the subsequent exhibitor and the destruc- 
tion of the practice of double featuring." 

Judge Atwell concluded that the existence of 
a conspiracy and agreement among the defendants 
was inescapable. 

The producers appealed, of course, from Judge 
Atwell's decision and when shortly afterwards the 
U. S. Supreme Court remanded the case of the 
District Court of Texas for findings of fact and 
law, they heralded this fact with blaring trumpets, 
leading the exhibitors to believe that they had won 
a victory. But the latter part of May, 1938, Judge 
Atwell, in accordance with the U. S. Supreme 
Court's recommendation, made his formal findings. 
These were so sweeping that the master-strategists 
of the producers were, no doubt, shocked. At that 
time Harrison's Reports felt that the producers 
had nothing to gain by appealing the case to the 
U. S. Supreme Court ; but they did appeal it. and 
now the highest court in the land comes forward 
and upholds the lower court in every particular. 

Justice Stone, who read the majority opinion 
last Monday, characterized the restrictions of the 
defendants "harsh and arbitrary" and said that a 
competition-suppressing agreement is not made any 
less illegal because the article it covers is copy- 
righted. "The fact that the restraint is made easier 
or more eff ective by making the copyright subser- 
vient to the contract does not relieve it of illegality," 
the Justice stated further. 

Justice Stoiie concluded that "the conspiracy and 
each contract between Interstate and the distribu- 
tors . . . are violations of the Sherman Act." 

In sending news of the decision to his paper, the 
Washington correspondent of the New York Her- 
ald Tribune said partly as follows: 

"The decision, hailed by the Department of Jus- 
(Continued on last {"age) 



26 



HARRISON'S REPORTS 



February 18, 1939 



"Beauty for the Asking" with Lucille Ball, 
Patrick Knowles and Frieda Inescort 

(RKO, Feb. 24; time, 67 l / 2 mm.) 
A fair program entertainment. The story itself is a 
routine triangle drama involving characters who are not 
particularly sympathetic. The picture, however, has a good 
selling point for women — that of the beauty parlor hack- 
ground, showing the methods employed to make women 
attractive. Women will be inspired to go out and try 
the same things for themselves when they sec what it docs 
to one of the characters, who is changed from an unat- 
tractive woman to one of poise and beauty. The picture, 
therefore, can be exploited as to that angle: — 

Luc'lle Rail, who worked in a beauty parlor, is jilted by 
Patrick Knowles, who marries wealthy Frieda Inescort. 
Miss Rail, who had perfected a new kind of cold cream, 
induces Donald Woods, an advertising expert, to ban lie 
the product for her. Miss Inescort becomes interested in 
the product and invests enough money to get the business 
started ; Knowles becomes an executive in the firm. The 
business grows in leaps and bounds. Rut Miss Rail, who 
still loved Knowles, is made unhappy by his presence. 
Woods, who loved her, knows that Knowles was not 
worthy of her love. Eventually Miss Rail, unable to re- 
sist Knowles' attentions any longer, confesses her love 
for him. She goes to see Miss Inescort, who agrees to give 
him up. Rut when Knowles learns that Miss Hall had 
agreed to turn over to Miss Inescort both hers and Knowles' 
holdings in the firm, he shows his true character by 
jilting her again. Rut Miss Inescort, who had been warned 
by Miss Rail, orders Knowles out of her home. She later 
divorces him, and she and Miss Rail become good friends 
and business associates. After a trip to Europe, Miss Hall 
returns to New York ; she then accepts Woods' marriage 
proposal. ■ • \i> 

Edmund L. Hartmann wrote the story, and Doris Ander- 
son and Pau 1 Jarrico, the screen play ; Glenn Tryon directed 
it, and R. P. Fineman produced it. In the cast are Ine." 
Courtney, Leona Maricle, Frances Mercer, Whitney 
Bourne, and others. 

Suitability, Calss A. 



"Made for Each Other" with Carole 
Lombard and James Stewart 

(United Artists, Feb. 10; time, 94 min.) 
Excellent entertainment for the masses. It is a delightful 
combination of comedy and drama, with deep human appeal. 
Although the story is simple, it is so true to life, that 
audiences will chuckle with delight at some of the situations, 
comparing them with events in their own lives. A few 
situations bring tears to the eyes, and others provoke hearty 
laughter. The performances, from the stars down to the 
smallest bit part, are delightful : — 

After a short acquaintanceship, Carole Lombard and 
James Stewart, a young lawyer, marry. His mother 
(Luc lie Watson) is shocked at the news, but pretends to 
be a good sport about it ; eventually she makes her home 
with the young couple. Her interference and nagging in- 
furiate Miss Lombard ; but she says nothing, for she 
does not want to make Stewart unhappy. Stewart, who had 
been expecting to be made a junior member of his law firm, 
is ke?nly disappointed when the designation is given to 
another man. When their baby is born. Miss Lombard 
pleads with Stewart to assert himself and to ask Charles 
Coburn, the senior member of the firm, for an increase ; 
but on the day Stewart decides to do this, Coburn informs 
him that business conditions made it necessary for him to 
de r. ase Stewart's salary. Stewart is miserable — bills pile 
up. Miss Lombard is compelled to do her own housework, 
and he cannot afford to give her any luxuries. He tells her 
that in fairness to her they should separate. Rut that very 
night their baby becomes seriously ill with pneumonia. 
Stewart rushes to Coburn for help in obtaining a serum 
needed to save the child's life. Coburn gladly advances 
$5,000 for the serum, which is flown through a blizzard 
by a daring aviator (Eddie Quillan). The baby recovers. 
And with his recovery everything is adjusted; Stewart is 
ma''c a partner in the firm with a substantial increase, and 
every one is happy. 

The plot was suggested by a story by Rose Franken. Jo 
Swerling wrote the screen play, John Cromwell directed 
it, and David O. Selznick produced it. In the cast are Alma 
Kruger, Ruth Weston, Donald Rriggs, Louise Reavers, and 
others. 

Suitability, Class A. 



"Woman Doctor" with Frieda Inescort, 
Henry Wilcoxon, Sybil Jason and 
Claire Dodd 

(Republic, Feb. 6; time, 65 mm.) 
A moderately entertaining program triangle drama, with 
an appeal to women because of the mother love angle. The 
production and performances are superior to the story 
value-, for the plot itself is familiar and lacks novelty in 
development. On occasion, situations that were meant to 
be dramatic fail to impress the spectator because they are 
so far-fetched. Frieda Inescort, whose actions throughout 
are commendable, is the only sympathetic character ; Henry 
Wilcoxon, the husband, is a weakling; Claire Dodd, the 
otjer woman, is a scheming person, and even the actions 
of the child (Sybil Jason), are at times unappealing. 

In the development of the plot, Miss Inescort, a brilliant 
surgeon, is heartbroken when she realizes that her devo- 
tion to her profession had turned her husband (Wilcoxon) 
from her to the arms of another woman (Miss Dodd). She 
agrees to a divorce but insists that their child (Sybil 
Jason) stay with her; she arranges to give up her career 
to devote her time to her child. Rut Sybil hates her mother 
because, in line with her duty, she had refused to treat 
Sybil's injured dog at the hospital, after which the dog 
had died. Wilcoxon, while visiting Sybil one day during 
her mother's absence, notices that the child was unhappy 
and takes her to his country home. This annoys Miss Dodd. 
Just as Sybil was preparing to go out horseback riding with 
Miss Dodd, Miss Inescort arrives. In an effort to escape 
from her mother, Sybil rides away ; she meets with an acci- 
dent. Wilcoxon, in company with his wife and Miss Dodd, 
puts Sybil in his plane in order to rush to the hospital. 
Encountering a storm, he is unable to land, and Miss Ines- 
cort is compelled to operate in the moving plane. Sybil 
recovers. Wilcoxon realizes what a fool he had been; he 
becomes reconciled with Miss Inescort, insisting that she 
c intinue with her career. 

Alice Altschuler and Miriam Geiger wrote the story, and 
Joseph M. March, the screen play; Sidney Salkow directed 
it, and Sol C. Siegcl produced it. In the cast are Cora 
Witherspoon, Frank Reicher, Dickie Jones, and others. 

Suitability, Class A. 



"The Three Musketeers" with Don Ameche, 
The Ritz Brothers and Binnie Barnes 

(20th Century-Fox, Feb. 17; time, 72 mm.) 
This musical comedy version of the old melodrama shapes 
up a; fairly good mass entertainment. Although basically 
the plot is the same as in the two versions produced first 
by United Artists in 1921 and then by RKO in 1935, this 
one differs somewhat in that it is treated more as a 
comedy with music than as a swashbuckling melodrama. 
The familiarity of the plot naturally lessens one's interest 
in the outcome, and on occasion the action lags. Rut each 
time the Ritz Rrothers appear one's interest is revived ; 
they have been given good material and make the most of 
it, provoking hearty laughter by their antics. Don Ameche 
makes an appealing D'Artagnan; he handles the romance 
and musical interludes well : — 

D'A;ta:nan, learning from Constance, the Queen's at- 
tendant (Pauline Moore) with whom he was in love, that 
the Queen (Gloria Stuart) would be disgraced unless she 
could get back an emerald brooch which she had given 
to the Duke of Ruckingham as a token of her esteem, and 
which the King had ordered her to wear at a bancjuet, 
decides to help her. He enlists the aid of three bar room 
attendants (The Ritz Rrothers), mistaking them for 
Musketeers. Cardinal Richelieu and DeRochefort, desiring 
to disgrace the Queen, send Lady deWinter (Rinnie 
Rarnes ) to get the brooch from the Duke before D'Ar- 
tagnan cou'd reach him. D'Artagnan, with the help of his 
three Musketeers, takes the brooch from her. After many 
exciting encounters with the Cardinal's men, during which 
his life is endangered, D'Artagnan manages to outwit them 
and to gain admittance to the palace. He gives the brooch 
to Constance, who in turn gives it to the Queen just before 
her entry into the main ballroom. Constance eventually 
marries D'Artagnan. 

The plot was taken from the Alexander Dumas novel ; 
M. M. Musselman, William A. Drake, and Samuel Hell- 
man wrote the screen play ; Allan Dwan directed it, and 
Raymond Griffith produced it. In the cast are Joseph 
Schildkraut, John Carradine, Lionel Atwill, Miles Mander, 
and others. 

Suitability, Class A. 



February 18, 1939 



HARRISON'S REPORTS 



27 



"Convict's Code" with Robert Kent, 
Anne Nagel and Sidney Blackmer 

{Monogram, Jan. 18; time, 63 min.) 
A fair program melodrama. The story is not particularly 
novel ; yet it holds one's attention fairly well because of the 
sympathy one feels for the hero (Robert Kent), who had 
been framed on a murder charge and sent to prison. Kent's 
efforts to prove his innocense, by finding out the identity of 
the man who had framed him, keep one in suspense because 
of the danger to him. The action towards the end is fairly 
exciting : — ■ 

As soon as he is paroled from prison, where he had been 
sent on a framed charge, Kent goes to see his friend (Ben 
Alexander), a newspaper reporter. He convinces him that 
he was innocent, and asks for his help in locating the 
witnesses who had testified falsely against him. But investi- 
gat'on shows that they had all left town. Sidney Blackmer 
gives Kent a position in his office ; Kent is unaware that 
Blackmer was the man who had framed him and that he 
had purposely given him the position so as to keep an eye 
on him. Kent meets and falls in love with Blackmer's 
sister (Anne Nagel); she returns his love. When Kent 
eventually finds out the truth about Blackmer, he confronts 
him ; but he tells him he would not say anything because of 
Miss Nagel ; he then leaves. Blackmer sends his henchman 
out to kill Kent. But when Miss Nagel confesses her love 
for Kent, Blackmer rushes after his henchman. In a quarrel, 
he kills th; man and is himself wounded. He confesses, thus 
clearing Kent's name. Miss Nagel and Kent marry. 

John Krafft and John T. Neville wrote the screen play, 
Lambert Hillyer directed it, and E. B. Derr produced it. 
In the cast are Norman Willis, Victor Kilian, Maude 
Eburne, and others. 

Not for children. Suitability, Class B. 



"King of the Turf" with Adolphe Menjou 
and Roger Daniel 

(United Artists, Feb. 17; time, 87}4 min.) 
A fairly good program human interest melodrama set 
against a racetrack background. Although the story is 
familiar and sentimental in spots, it holds one's attention 
fairly well because of the good performances by Adolphe 
Menjou and Roger Daniel, a youngster. It is doubtful, 
however, if it will do better than average program business 
for it lacks players of strong box-office appeal ; nor is the 
production out of the ordinary. Because of the racetrack 
angle, the p'cture directs its appeal mostly to men ; as far 
as women are concerned, since the story lacks a romance, 
the only appeal to them would be the sacrifice the father 
makes for the sake of his son. The situation in the closing 
scenes, where he disillusions the boy, touches one. The 
final race has been handled in an exciting way : — 

Adolphe Menjou, a former wealthy race horse owner, 
who had lost all his money and taken to drink, is forced 
to hop a train to get to the opening of another track. In 
the car he meets young Daniel, a stable boy for a racing 
outfit. Dan el, who loved horses, is thrilled when he learns 
who Menjou was, for Menjou had been the trainer of 
a famous jockey whom he had idolized. The trainer, en- 
raged when he finds another person in the car, throws both 
Menjou and Daniel out. Menjou is taken to a hospital, and 
Daniel pays his bills by working at odd jobs. On his re- 
lease, they go to an auction sale, where they buy a horse 
for two dollars. With careful training, Menjou develops 
the horse into a good racer and Daniel into a good 
jockey. Daniel wins every race; once again Menjou is on 
the top. But he is shocked, when he receives a visit from 
his former wife (Dolores Costello), who had since re- 
married, to learn that Daniel was his own son, who had 
run away from home. She pleads with him to send the boy 
back, but Menjou knows he would have to do something 
drastic for Daniel adored him, without even knowing of 
their relationship. In Daniel's presence, he enters into a 
scheme with Alan Dinehart, a bookmaker, to throw the 
race: Daniel, who hated crookedness, is heartbroken when 
Menjou orders him to throw the race. Unable to follow 
Menjou's instructions, he races and wins. Menjou, at the 
end of the race, forces himself to slap the boy, thereby 
completely disillusioning him. Daniel goes back home. 
Dinehart, even though he had lost a fortune, cannot help 
feeling sorry for Menjou. 

George Bruce wrote the original screen play; Alfred E. 
Green directed it, and Edward Small produced it. In the 
cast are Walter Abel, William Demarcst, Harold Huber, 
and others. 

Suitability, Class A. 



"Honolulu" with Robert Young, Eleanor 
Powell, George Burns and Gracie Allen 

(MGM, February 3; time, 83 min.) 
Good mass entertainment. Although not a big picture, 
it has been given a pretty lavish production ; in addition, 
it offers comedy, music, romance, and dancing of the type 
to appeal to most picture-goers. The story is familiar ; one 
overlooks this, however, for the performances are engag- 
ing and the plot developments amusing. Gracie Allen is 
particularly good ; each time she appears she brightens 
things up considerably, provoking hearty laughter by the 
things she says. Eleanor Powell does four dances, the best 
being her imitation of Bill Robinson in his famous staircase 
tap rout'ne : — ■ 

Robert Young, a famous movie star, is tired of being 
pursued by crowds, and longs for a rest. His chance comes 
when he meets a young man, a Hawaiian plantation owner, 
(also played by Young) who looked exactly like him. He 
induces the plantation owner to change places with him — 
the plantation owner to go to New York and make per- 
sonal appearances, and he, the actor, to go to Hawaii where 
he would pose as the plantation owner. On the boat to 
Hawaii Young meets and falls in love with Miss Powell, 
a dancer. But once he lands in Hawaii complications 
arise, for he is greeted by the plantation owner's sweetheart 
(Rita Johnson) and her father (Clarence Kolb). Miss 
Johnson, who had been hesitant about marrying the plan- 
tation owner, notices a marked difference in the way he 
kissed her and decides to marry him. This puts Young in 
an embarrassing position ; although he tells Miss Powell 
the truth, she refuses to believe him. The plantation owner, 
who had been in a hospital because of injuries he had 
suffered from enthusiastic crowds, arrives in Honolulu on 
the day of his supposed wedding to Miss Johnson. He 
changes places with the actor and goes through with the 
ceremony. Young then convinces Miss Powell that he loved 
her, and they plan to marry. 

Herbert Fields and Frank Partos wrote the original 
story and screen play ; Edward Buzzell directed it, and 
Jack Cummings produced it. In the cast are Jo Ann 
Sayers, Ann Morriss, Willie Fung, Cliff Clark, and others. 

Suitability, Class A. 



"One Third of a Nation" with Sylvia Sidney 
and Leif Erikson 

(Paramount, Feb. 24; time, 75 min.) 

This may be powerful propaganda in favor of slum 
clearance, but it lacks entertainment values. No one will 
disagree with the theory it presents for consideration — that 
slum districts are a menace to civilization. The fault lies in 
the manner in which it presents it, for it resorts to 
preachment to get its message over. Filmed against the 
sordid background of slum tenements inhabited by poverty- 
stricken families, the picture tends to depress the spectator. 
Even the romance lacks appeal, for it is unbelievable. The 
one bright spot comes in the end, when the movement to 
demolish slums is started by one landlord : — 

While driving through the crowded slum tenement dis- 
trict with a friend, Leif Erikson is stopped because of a 
fire in one of the houses. He is shocked when he realizes 
that several persons had died because the house was a fire 
trap. A young boy (Sidney Lumet) is injured in trying 
to escape by means of a broken fire-escape. The boy's sister 
(Sylvia Sidney) asks for Erikson's help in getting her 
brother to the hospital ; Erikson rushes her there. He 
promises to pay the hospital bills and begs Miss Sidnev 
not to worry. The doctors inform them that Lumet would 
be crippled for life. When Erikson learns that he and his 
sister owned the block of tenements where the fire had 
occurred, he is ashamed, and insists on doing something 
about it. But the manager of his estate laughs at him. Mi-s 
Sidney and Erikson become good friends. She tells him of 
her dreams that some day the slums would be demolished 
and decent homes built in their stead. Erikson is fired with 
the idea to tear down his old houses. But his sister opposes 
him and threatens to take the matter to court and to 
embarrass Miss Sidney. Lumet, who imagined he could 
luar the house talk to him, sets fire to it one night ; it Inn ns 
to the ground and he dies. But his death is not in vain, for 
Erikson's sister finally sees the light. Ann in arm Erikson 
and Miss Sidney watch the demolition of the old houses. 

The plot was adapted from the play by Arthur Arent ; 
Oliver H. P. Garrett wrote the screen play. Dudley 
Murphy directed it, and Harold Orlob produced it. In tin- 
cast arc Myron McCormick, Muriel Hutchinson, Hiram 
Sherman, and others. 

Too depressing for children. Adult fare. Class B. 



28 



HARRISON'S REPORTS 



February 18, 1939 



tice as one of the most significant in the history of 
anti-trust laws, upheld an anti-trust decree issued 
by a special three-judge, northern Texas Federal 
Court against eight major distributors and Inter- 
state Circuit, Inc., and Texas Consolidated Thea- 
tres, Inc., motion-picture theatre chains. . . . 

"While the decision applies only to Texas, Soli- 
citor General Robert II. Jackson said that it was a 
blow against monopolies and reopened the con- 
troversial subject of the rights of copyright or 
patent holders in as much as motion pictures are 
copyrighted." 

For a long time the producers, on advice of their 
legal talents, were riding roughshod over the ex- 
hibitors on the ground that, being the owners of 
copyright, they had the right to do anything they 
wanted with their films; but the highest court of 
the land now says, in effect, that the advice of these 
lawyers was wrong. 

HIGH TIME TO CUT THE STRINGS 

For a long time the motion picture producers 
have been criticized for refusing to treat with any 
subject that might arouse the temperamental na- 
ture of foreign dictators. Frequently scripts, fully 
adequate to he translated into good motion pictures, 
have been either discarded or so completely altered 
as to take every spark of life out of them ; and all 
for fear of what might happen to the producer's 
market in the dictatorship countries. 

Now comes the announcement that I lollywood 
has withdrawn from the Italian and German coun- 
tries, although it might be more accurate to say 
that it had been "kicked out" of these markets. In 
Spain, with the victory of General Franco at 
Barcelona, his government concluded a so-called 
"cultural treat) " with Germany and Italy, which 
provides, among other things, for "a general system 
of trading music, motion picture and radio pro- 
grams," which means that the Spanish market is 
virtually closed to American motion pictures. 

And Japan is now completing a set of regula- 
tions under which it will be almost impossible for 
American lilms to be shown in that country. 

With the excuse that they are trying to protect 
their foreign markets no longer of any force, the 
producers have before them a great opportunity of 
demonstrating what they can do in the production 
of pictures unrestrained by the artificial strings 
attached to production by touchy, temperamental 
dictators. 

Harrison's Reports ventures the prediction 
that, if the producers will make the most of the 
opportunity now before them, concentrating on 
the production of pictures without regard to the 
number of corns on the toes of each dictator, thev 
will not only be rendering a service to democracy, 
but will also increase the number of better pictures 
that they will be giving to the movie-going public. 

NORTH DAKOTA THEATRE DIVORCE 
LAW REPEALED 

The North Dakota theatre-divorce law, which 
was passed in 1937, during the incumbency of Gov- 
ernor Langel, was repealed by the North Dakota 
Legislature last week. It now rests with Governor 
Moses whether the repeal will become effective or 
not. 

The circumstances under which the repeal took 
place are significant, and Harbison's Reports 
predicts that the end of the story has not yet been 
told. Read what the February 14 issue of film 
Daily partly says : 



". . . meanwhile there were complications regard- 
ing the peculiar circumstances under which the 
repeal measure flew through the N. D. House and 
Senate with claims it was adopted under misappre- 
hensions. R. R. Scholl, majority leader in the 
house which is controlled by a Non-partisan league 
bloc, introduced a resolution asking the Governor 
to veto the measure 'because the House did not 
discover the true situation until after passing the 
bill under misapprehension of meaning and pur- 
pose.' 

"The House Judiciary Committee yesterday rec- 
ommended for passage the resolution of Scholl, 
asking Governor Moses to veto the divorcement 
repeal bill. Report was withheld, however, on 
Scholl 's request. 

"The repeal measure was adopted by the House 
Friday by a vote of 86 to 7, transmitted to the 
Senate, and there was adopted with a vote of 43 
to 5 at 2 p.m., Saturday. 

"But shortly after convening Saturday, the house 
voted 67 to 37 to reconsider the repeal bill. It failed, 
however, to notify the Senate of its action in the 
interim before the Senate adopted the bill. 

"All of which, according to the legislature's 
leading parliamentarians, means that the repeal 
measure is passed beyond redemption and that its 
fate lies entirely in the hands of the Governor. 

" 'This looks mighty peculiar to the chair but it 
looks as if we can't do anything about it,' was the 
declaration of Oscar Hagen, speaker of the House. 

"Scholl contended a number of members of the 
House voted for the bill under the belief it repre- 
sented a private fight between theatres in Bismarck 
and Mandan, towns separated by the Missouri 
river, and that they had no idea the divorcement 
act was involved. . . ." 

Notice that, of the 86 members of the lower 
house who voted for the repeal, 67 voted the fol- 
lowing day for reconsideration. (The repeal vote 
was 86 to 7 ; the reconsideration vote was 67 to 37.) 
In other words, if the 67 members, who are now 
asking for reconsideration, had known the "mean- 
ing and purpose" of the repeal bill, it is assumed 
that they would not have voted for it, and it would 
not have passed. 

Notice also that the House majority leader 
Scholl, who introduced the resolution that requests 
the Governor to veto the bill, said that the members 
of the house — the 67 members, no doubt — did not 
discover the true situation until after the bill was 
passed under "misapprehension of meaning and 
purpose." 

In view of the fact that so large a majority of 
the House members have petitioned Governor 
Moses to veto the bill, the Governor is certainlv 
put into a peculiar position. Will he dare refuse to 
veto it? If he should not veto it, what will be his 
excuse ? 

Under the heading "Paramount Active In North 
Dakota For Repeal of Divorcement Law," printed 
in the February 4th issue, this paper acquainted 
the trade with the activities of Paramount in North 
Dakota against the Divorcement Law, and ex- 
pressed the opinion that, if it should be successful, 
the U. S. Supreme Court may refuse to decide the 
question of the constitutionality of the law, in the 
appeal pending before it, on the ground that the 
question has become academic. 

As said in the beginning of this article, the last 
word on the North Dakota Divorcement law may 
not have been spoken yet. 



IN TWO SECTIONS— SECTION TWO 



HARRISONS REPORTS 



Vol. XXI 


NEW YORK, SATURDAY, FEBRUARY 18, 1939 


No. 7 




(Partial Index No. 1 — Pages 2 to 24 Incl.) 





Title of Picture Reviewed on Page 

Ambush — Paramount (61J/> min.) 10 

Arizona Legion — RKO (58 min.) 10 

Arizona Wildcat, The — 20th Century-Fox (69 min.).. 15 
Awakening of Katrina, The — MGM (See "The Girl 
Downstairs") 2 

Billy the Kid Returns — Republic (56m.) . . .Not Reviewed 

Black Bandit — Universal (57m.) Not Reviewed 

Boy Slaves— RKO (71 min.) 14 

Boy Trouble — Paramount (73 min.) 22 

Burn 'Em Up O'Connor— MGM {69y 2 min.) 15 

California Frontier — Columbia (54m.) .... Not Reviewed 
Charlie Chan in Honolulu — 20th Century-Fox (67m.). 7 
Crackerjack — Gaumont-British (See "Man with 100 

Faces") 186 

Crooked Way — Monogram (See "Gang Bullets") ....202 

Devil's Island — Warner Bros. (62 min.) 6 

Disbarred — Paramount (59 min.) 10 

Escape from Yesterday — Paramount (See "Ride a 
Crooked Mile") 202 

Federal Man Hunt — Republic (63 min.) 7 

Fifth Round, The— Monogram (See "Tough Kid") .. 6 

Fighting Thoroughbreds — Republic (65 min.) 11 

Fisherman's Wharf — RKO (71 min.) 23 

Four Girls in White— MGM (73 min.) . 23 

Frontiersman, The — Paramount (73j^m.) .. Not Reviewed 

Gambling Ship — Universal (61 min.) 3 

Girl Downstairs, The— MGM (76 min.) 2 

Great Man Votes, The— RKO (71 min.) 10 

Guilty Trail — Universal (57m.) Not Reviewed 

Gunga Din— RKO (116 min.) 19 

Gun Packer — Monogram (49m.) Not Reviewed 

Hell for Leather — MGM (See "Burn 'Em Up 

O'Connor") 15 

Homicide Bureau — Columbia (59 min.) 23 

Idiot's Delight— MGM (106^ min.) 22 

In Early Arizona — Columbia (53m.) Not Reviewed 

It Happened in Hollywood— Republic (See "A 

Desperate Adventure") 130 

Jesse James — 20th Century-Fox (105 min.) 11 

Kentucky — 20th Century-Fox (95 min.) 3 

King of the Underworld — Warner Bros. (68 min.) ... 11 

Law of the Texan — Columbia (54m.) Not Reviewed 

Lone Wolf's Spy Hunt — Columbia (71 min.) 18 

Man from Music Mountain — Repub. (58m.). Not Reviewed 

Mexicali Kid — Monogram (51m.) Not Reviewed 

Mr. Moto's Last Warning — 20th Century-Fox (71m.) . 15 

Mysterious Miss X, The — Republic (64 min.) 14 

Mysterious Rider — Paramount (72m.) .... Not Reviewed 

Nancy Drew, Reporter — First National (68 min.).... 22 

Navy Secrets — Monogram (60 min.) 22 

Newsboys' Home — Universal (72 min.) 7 

Off the Record— Warner Bros. (70 min.) 19 

Overland Stage Raiders — Republic (55m.) .Not Reviewed 

Pacific Liner— RKO (75 min.) 2 

Pals of the Saddle — Republic (55m.) Not Reviewed 

Pardon Our Nerve — 20th Century-Fox (67^ min.) .. 18 

Paris Honeymoon — Paramount (85 min.) 3 

Peggy and Partner — Columbia (See "Blondie") 186 

Persons in Hiding — Paramount (70 min.) 18 

Pirates of the Skies — Universal (61 min.) 11 

Prairie Justice — Universal (57m.) Not Reviewed 

Prairie Moon — Republic (59m.) Not Reviewed 

Pride of the Navy — Republic (63 min.) 19 

Rhythm of the Saddle — Republic (58m.) Not Reviewed 

RlO Grande — Columbia (59m.) Not Reviewed 



St. Louis Blues — Paramount (86 min.) 18 

Skids— MGM (See "Burn 'Em Up O'Connor") 15 

Smiling Along — 20th Century-Fox (92 min.) 6 

Son of Frankenstein — Universal (98 min.) 14 

Stand Up and Fight — MGM (96 min.) 6 

Starlight over Texas — Monogram (56m.) .Not Reviewed 
Stranded in Paris — Paramount (See "Artists and 

Models Abroad") 194 

Stranger from Arizona, The — Columbia (56m.) 

Not Reviewed 

Tailspin— 20th Century-Fox (83^ min.) 23 

They Made Me a Criminal — Warner Bros. (92 min.) . . 15 

Tom Sawyer, Detective— Paramount (67 min.) 3 

Topper Takes a Trip— United Artists (80 min.) 2 

Torchy Bla ne in Chinatown — First National (57 min.) 19 

Tough Kid — Monogram (59 min.) 6 

Trade Winds— United Artists (93'/ 2 min.) 2 

West of Santa Fe — Columbia (57m.) Not Reviewed 

Where the Buffalo Roam — Mono. (62m.) . . Not Reviewed 
Wings of the Navy— Warner Bros. (88^ min.) 14 

Zaza — Paramount (84 min.) 7 



RELEASE SCHEDULE FOR FEATURES 
Columbia Features 

(729 Seventh Ave., Neiv York, N. Y.) 
9050 The Terror of Tiny Town— Midgets (63m.) .Dec. 1 

9202 Rio Grande— Starrett (59m.) Dec. 8 

9022 The Strange Case of Dr. Mead— Holt Dec. 15 

9006 There's That Woman Again — Douglas-Bruce Dec. 24 

9015 Smashing the Spy Ring— Wray-Bellamy Dec. 29 

9035 Homicide Bureau — Cabot-Hay worth (re.) ...Jan. 5 

9203 The Thundering West — Starrett (58m.) Jan. 12 

9212 Frontiers of '49— All star west. (54!^m.) Jan. 19 

9014 Lone Wolf's Spy Hunt (Lone Wolf's Daughter) — 

William-Lupino-Weidler Jan. 27 

9204 Texas Stampede— Starrett (57 l / 2 m.) Feb. 9 

9038 North of Shanghai— Furness-Craig (re.) ...Feb. 10 

My Son is a Criminal— A. Baxter-J. W r ells. .Feb. 22 

Let Us Live— Fonda-O'Sullivan Feb. 28 

Romance of the Redwoods — Bickford-Parker Mar. 2 
Blondie Meets the Boss — Singleton-Lake ..Mar. 8 

9213 Lone Star Pioneers — All star west. (55m.) .Mar. 16 
Whispering Enemies — J. Holt-D. Costello. . .Mar. 24 
The Lady and the Mob — Bainter-Lupino ...Apr. 3 



First National Features 

(321 W. 44th St., Neiv York, N. Y.) 
351 Angels With Dirty Faces — Cagney-O'Brien ..Nov. 24 

370 Comet Over Broadway — Francis-Hunter Dec. 3 

362 Heart of the North— Foran-Dickson Dec. 10 

359 Going Places — Powcll-Louise-Huber Dec. 31 

371 Torchy Blane in Chinatown — Farrell Feb. 4 

372 Nancv Drew, Reporter — Granville-Thomas ...Feb. 18 
357 Yes, My Darling Daughter — P. Lane-Lynn ...Feb. 25 

Sweepstakes Winner — Wilson-Jenkins Mar. 18 

Blackwcll's Island— Garfield-R. Lane Mar. 25 



Grand National Features 

(50 Rockefeller Plasa, New York, N. Y.) 

312 Cipher Bureau — L. Ames — J. Woodbury Nov. 4 

345 The Sunset Murder Case — S. Rand (57m.) . . .Nov. 11 

313 The Long Shot — Jones-Hunt (69m.) Jan. 6 

Wl-l Water Rustlers— Dorothv Page (54m.) ...Jan. 6 

WT-13 Trigger Pals— Jarrett- Powell (55m.) Jan. 14 

Wl-2 Ride 'Em Cowgirl — Dorothy Page (52m.) .Jan. -'() 
{"Exile Express." listed in tin- last Judex as a January _'D 

release, has been postponed.) 



Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Features 



( 1540 Broadway, New York, N. Y.) 

917 A Christmas Carol— Owen-Kilburn Dec. 16 

916 The Girl Downstairs — Gaal-Tonc-Connolly ...Dec. 23 
910 Sweethearts— MacDonald-Eddy-F. Morgan ..Dec. 30 

918 Stand Up and Fight— Taylor- Beery-Rice Jan. 6 

919 Burn 'Em Up O'Connor— O'Keefe-Parker Jan. 13 

No release set for Jan. 20 

920 Idiot's Delight— Shearer-Gable (re.) Jan. 27 

921 Four Girls In White— Ricc-A. Marshall Jan. 27 

922 Honolulu— E. Powell- Voung-G. Allen-Burns. Feb. 3 

923 The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn— 

M. Rooney-W. Connolly Feb. 10 

924 Fast and Loose— Russell-Montgomery Feb. 17 



u 2<) Let Freedom Ring— E<ldy-Bruce-L. Barrymore Feb. 24 
925 The Ice Follies of 1939— Crawford-Stewart ..Mar. 3 



Monogram Features 

(1270 Sixth Ave., New York, N. Y.) 

3851 Gun Packer— lack Randall (49m.) Nov. 16 

3818 Gang Bullets— Anne Nagel Nov. 23 

3861 Song of the Buckaroo— Ritter (56m.) Nov. 23 

3812 I Am a Criminal— J. Carroll Dec. 14 

3852 Wild Horse Canyon— Randall (50m.) Dec. 21 

3819 Tough Kid— Frankie Darro Dec. 28 

3822 Convict's Code— Nagel-R. Kent (re.) Jan. 18 

3853 Drifting Westward— Jack Randall (49m.) ...Jan. 25 
3815 Navv Secrets— Wray- Withers (re.) Feb. 1 

3862 Sundown on the Prairie— Ritter (53m.) (re.) .Feb. 8 

3S28 Little Pal (The Healer)— Reissue Feb. 18 

3821 Star Reporter— Hull-Hunt Feb. 22 

3820 Mystery of Mr. Wong— Boris Karloff Mar. 1 

3863 Roll in' "Westward— Tex Ritter Mar. 1 

Sky Pirate— Trent-Young Mar. 8 

3854 Trigger Smith— Randall Mar. 15 



Paramount Features 

(1501 Broadway. New York. N. Y .) 

3817 Artists and Models Abroad— Benny Dec. 30 

3818 Disbarred— Patrick-Kruger (re.) Jan. 6 

3819 Zaza— Colbert-Marshall-Lahr Jan. 13 

3820 Ambush— Swarthout-Nolan-Henry Jan. 20 

3821 Paris Honeymoon— Crosby-Gaal Jan. 27 

3822 St. Louis Blues — Nolan-Lamour Feb. 3 

3823 Persons in Hiding— Overman-Naish Feb. 10 

3824 Bov Trouble— Ruggles-Boland Feb. 17 

3825 One Third of a Nation— Sidney (re.) Feb. 24 

3857 Sunset Trail— Boyd-Hayes (68m.) Feb. 24 

3826 Cafe Society— Carroll-MacMurray Mar. 3 

3863 The Beachcomber— Laughton Mar. 10 

King of Chinatown— Wong-Tamiroff (re.) . .Mar. 17 

Hotel Imperial— Miranda-Mil'.and Mar. 24 

Sudden Money — Ruggles-Rambeau Mar. 31 

385S Silver on the Sage— William Boyd Mar. 31 



Republic Features 

(1776 Broadway, New York. N. Y.) 
852 Shine On Harvest Moon— Rogers-Hart (57m) Dec. 23 



820 Federal Man Hunt— Livingston-Travis Dec. 26 

821 Fighting Thoroughbreds— Byrd-Carlisle Jan. 6 

809 Mysterious Miss X— Whalen-Hart Jan. 10 

822 Pride of the Navy— Dunn-Hudson Jan. 23 

842 Home on the Prairie— Autry (59m.) Feb. 3 

808 Woman Doctor— Incscort-Wilcoxon- Jason ...Feb. 6 



RKO Features 

(1270 Sixth Ave., New York. N. Y.) 
1937-38 Season 

844 Fisherman's Wharf— Breen-Carrillo Feb. 3 

1938 39 Season 

910 Next Time 1 Marry— Ball-Ellison Dec. 9 

914 Pacific Liner— McLaglen-Morris-Barrie Jan. 6 

913 Great Man Votes — J. Barrymore-Weidler ....Jan. 13 
982 Arizona legion— George O'Brien Jan. 20 

911 Boy Slaves— Shirley-Baxter Feb. 10 

912 Gunga Din — Grant-McLaglen-Fairbanks, Jr... Feb. 17 

915 Beautv for the Asking— Ball-Knowles Feb. 24 



Twentieth Century-Fox Features 

(444 W. 56th St., New York, N. Y.) 

913 Suez — Power- Young-Annabella Oct. 28 

914 Always in Trouble — Withers Nov. 4 

915 Just Around the Corner — Temple Nov. 11 

916 Sharpshooters — Donlevy-Bari Nov. 18 

909 Subma rine Patrol — Greene-Kelly Nov. 25 

918 Road Demon — Arthur-Valerie- Armetta Dec. 2 

924 Up the River — Martin-Brooks-Foster Dec. 9 

920 Down on the Farm — Jed Prouty Dec. 16 

917 Thanks for Everything — Menjou-Oakie Dec. 23 

923 Kentucky — Young-Greene-Brennan Dec. 30 

922 While New York Sleeps — Whalen-Rogers ...Jan. 6 
8010 The Lady Vanishes — Lockwood-Redgrave ..Jan. 6 

928 Charlie Chan in Honolulu — Toler-Brooks ....Jan. 13 

926 Mr. Moto's Last Warning — Lorre-Cortez ....Jan. 20 

933 Smiling Along — Fields-Maguire-Livesey Jan. 20 

921 Jesse James — Power-Fonda-Kelly Jan. 27 

929 The Arizona Wildcat— Withers-Carrillo Feb. 3 

925 Tail Spin— Faye-C. Bennett-Kelly-Farrell ...Feb. 10 

927 The Three Musketeers — Ameche-Ritz Bros. ..Feb. 17 

931 Pardon Our Nerve — Bari-Gale-Whalen Feb. 24 

930 Wife Husband and Friend — Young-Baxter . . .Mar. 3 

934 Inside Story — Whalcn-J. Rogers-Chandler ...Mar. 10 

932 The Little Princess — Temple-Greene Mar. 17 

935 Everybody's Baby — Prouty-Deane-Byington .Mar. 24 

936 The Hound of the Baskervillcs — Greene- 

Rathbone-Louise-Bruce Mar. 31 



United Artists Features 

(729 Seventh Ave., New York, N. Y.) 
The Young in Heart — Gaynor-Fairbanks, Jr. (re.) .Nov. 3 

The Cowboy and the Lady — Coopcr-Oberon Nov. 17 

Trade Winds — March-J. Bennett-Sothern Dec. 22 

The Duke of West Point — T. Brown-Hayward .... Dec. 29 
Topper Takes a Trip — C. Bennett- Young-Burke ..Jan. 12 

Made For Each Other — Lombard-J. Stewart Feb. 10 

King of the Turf — Mcnjou-D. Costello-Abel Feb. 17 

Stagecoach — Trevor-Wayne-Devine-Carradine ...Mar. 3 



Universal Features 

(1250 Sixth Ave., New York, N. Y.) 

A3016 The Storm— Bickford-MacLane-Grey Oct. 28 

A3028 The Last Express— K. Taylor-D. Kent ....Oct. 28 

A3032 Exposed — Farrell-Kruger Nov. 4 

A3053 Prairie Justice — Bob Baker (57 min.) Nov. 4 

A3036 His Exciting Night— Ruggles-Munson Nov. 11 

A3042 Mars Attacks the World— (67^4 min.) ...Nov. 18 

A301 1 Little Tough Guys in Society — Boland Nov. 25 

A3035 Strange Faces — Kent-Jenks Dec. 2 

A3022 Secrets of a Nurse — Lowe-Mack Dec. 9 

A3054 Ghost Town Riders— Bob Baker (54m.) . . .Dec. 16 
A3021 Swing Sister Swing — Murray-Downs-Kane.Dec. 16 
A3015 Newsboys' Home— J. Cooper-W. Barrie ...Dec. 23 

A3027 The Last Warning — Foster-Jenks Jan. 6 

A3004 Son of Frankenstein— Karloff -Rathbone . . .Jan. 13 
A3055 Honor of the West— Bob Baker (58m.) . . . Jan. 13 

A3023 Gambling Ship— Alack- Wilcox Jan. 20 

A3033 Pirates of the Skies— K. Taylor Feb. 3 

A3056 The Phantom Stage— Bob Baker (57m.) ..Feb. 10 
You Can't Cheat an Honest Man — Fields . . .Feb. 17 

Society Smugglers — Foster-Hervey Feb. 24 

Risky Business — G. Murphy-D. Kent Mar. 3 

Three Smart Girls Grow Up — Durbin . . . .Mar. 10 



Warner Bros. Features 

(321 W. 44th St., Neiv York, N. Y.) 

302 The Sisters — Flvnn-Davis-Louise Oct. 15 

310 Hard to Get— Powell-DeHavilland Nov. 5 

318 Torchy Gets Her Man — Farrell-MacLane . . . .Nov. 12 

319 Nancy Drew, Detective — Granville-Litel (re.) .Nov. 19 

303 The Dawn Patrol — Flynn-Rathbone-Niven ..Dec. 24 

313 Devil's Island — Karloff-Harrigan Jan. 7 

317 King of the Underworld — Bogart (re.) Jan. 14 

314 Off the Record— O'Brien-Blondell Jan. 21 

307 They Made Me A Criminal— Garfield (re.) . . Jan. 28 

Wings of the Navy — Brent-deHavilland Feb. 11 

321 The Adventures of Jane Arden — Towne Mar. 4 

The Oklahoma Kid — Cagney-Bogart-R. Lane. Mar. 11 



SHORT SUBJECT RELEASE SCHEDULE 

Columbia — One Reel 

9802 Ski Rhythm— Sport Thrills (9 l / 2 m.) Nov. 4 

9652 Community Sing No. 2— (10^m.) Nov. 4 

9551 Bermuda, Islands of Paradise — Tours 

(I0y 2 min.) Nov. 4 

9752 Happy Birthday — Scrappys (6;n. ) Nov. 17 

9552 Province of Quebec (Provincial Quebec) — 

Tours (lOj^m.) Nov. 18 

9901 Washington Parade— Issue 81 (10m.) Nov. 18 

9853 Screen Snapshops No. 3— (9^m.) Nov. 20 

9504 Midnight Frolics— Color Rhapsody (7 l / 2 m.) Nov. 24 

9653 Community Sing No. 3 — (\0'/ 2 m.) Dec. 2 

9703 The Lone Mountie— Krazy Kat (6j£m.) . . . .Dec. 10 

9854 Screen Snapshots No. 4— (9J/ 2 m.) Dec. 15 

9505 The Kangaroo Kid — Color Rhapsody (7'/ 2 m.) Dec. 23 

9803 King Vulture— Sport Thrills (lOj/m.) Dec. 23 

9654 Community Sing No. 4— (lO^m.) Dec. 30 

9902 Washington Parade — Issue 82 (11m.) Jan. 6 

9855 Screen Snapshots No. 5 — (9m.) Jan. 6 

9753 Scrappy 's Added Attraction— Scrappys 

(6^m.) Jan. 13 

9961 A Night In a Music Hall— Music Hall 

Vanities (11m.) Jan. 20 

9506 Peaceful Neighbors — Color Rhap. (8m.) Jan. 26 

9804 Odd Sports (Get Ready Navy)— Sport Thrills 

(reset) Jan. 27 

9704 Krazy 's Bear Tale — Krazy Kat Jan. 27 

9655 Community Sing No. 5 — (9}/;m.) Jan. 27 

9553 Big Town Commuters — Tours Feb. 3 

9856 Screen Snapshots No. 6— (10m.) Feb. 17 

9507 The Gorilla Hunt— Color Rhapsody Feb. 24 

9805 Get Ready Navy— Sport Thrills Feb. 24 

9656 Community Sing No. 6 Feb. 24 

9903 Washington Parade- — Issue $3 Mar. 3 

9657 Community Sing No. 7 Mar. 24 

Columbia — Two Reels 

9135 The Octopus Unmasked — Spider 315 (15m.) .Jan. 27 

9181 Challenge in the Skv — Flying G-Men No. 1 

(29m.) Jan. 28 

9182 Flight of the Condemned — G-men 82 (16m.) . . Feb. 4 

9429 Mutinv on the Body— All star com. (17^m.) .Feb. 10 

9183 The Vulture's Nest— G-Men 83 (18m.) Feb. 11 

9184 The Falcon Strikes— G-Men £4 Feb. 18 

9405 We Want Our Mummv— Stooges (16^m.) ..Feb. 24 

9185 Flight From Death— G-Men 85 Feb. 25 

9186 Phantom of the Sky— G-Men 86 Mar. 4 

9430 The Sap Takes a Rap— All star com. (16m.) Mar. 10 

9187 Trapped bv Radio— G-Men 87 Mar. 11 

9188 Midnight Watch— G-Men 88 Mar. 18 

9431 Boom Goes the Groom — All star com. (17m.) Mar. 24 

9189 Wings of Death— G-Men 89 Mar. 25 

9190 Flaming Wreckage — G-Men 810 Apr. 1 



Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer — One Reel 

1937- 38 Season 

W-692 The Captain's Christmas — Capt. Cartoon 

technicolor (8m.) Dec. 17 

W-693 Petunia Natural Park— Capt. cart. (9m.) ..Jan. 14 
(End of 1937-38 Season) 

1938- 39 Season 

T-855 Singapore and Jahore — Traveltalk (9m.) ..Dec. 31 

M-875 The Great Heart — Miniatures (11m.) Dec. 31 

C-935 Alfalfa's ATmt— Our Gang Jan. 7 

S-904 Double Diving— Pete Smith (8m.) Jan. 14 

T-856 Ancient Egypt — Traveltalk Jan. 21 

K-922 New Roadways— Passing Parade (10m.) . . Jan. 28 

F-954 How To Sublet— Benchley (8m.) Jan. 28 

W-881 Seal Skinners— Cartoons (8m.) Jan. 28 

M-876 Ice Antics — Miniatures Feb. 11 

S-905 Heroes at Leisure— Pete Smith (10m.) Feb. 11 

T-857 Imperial Delhi— Traveltalks Feb. 18 

K-923 The Story of Alfred Nobel— Pass. Parade .Feb. 18 
C-936 Tiny Troubles — Our Gang Feb. 18 

Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer — Two Reels 

R-802 Once Over Lightly— Mus. (19m.) Dec. 31 

R-803 A Dream of Love— Mus. (17m.) Jan. 28 



Paramount — One Reel 

V8-4 Raising Canines — Paragraphic (9 ! / 2 m.) Nov. 11 

E8-4 A Date to Skate— Popeye cart. (7m.) Nov. 18 

R8-5 Super-Athletes— Sportlight (9]/ 2 m.) Nov. 25 

T8-4 On With the New— Betty Boop (6m.) Dec. 2 

A8-5 Hal Kemp and His Orch.— Head. (9m.) Dec. 2 

L8-3 Unusual Occupations 83 — (10m.) Dec. 2 

K8-3 Costa Rica — Color Cruises (9m.) Dec. 2 

P8-5 Paramount Pictorial 85— (8^m.) Dec. 9 

V8-5 Oh Say, Can You Ski— Para. (lO^m.) Dec. 16 

R8-6 Frolicking Frogs — Sport. (9'/ 2 m.) Dec. 23 

T8-5 Pudgy in Thrills and Chills— B. B. (5^m.) .Dec. 23 

E8-5 Cops Is Always Right— Popeye (7m.) Dec. 30 

C8-3 Always Kickin' — Color Classic (7m.) Jan. 6 

A8-6 A Song is Born— Headliner (9^>m.) Jan. 6 

P8-6 Paramount Pictorial 86 — (9m.) Jan. 6 

J8-3 Popular Science 83 — (10m.) Jan. 6 

V8-6 The Unfinished Symphony — Para. (10m.) ...Jan. 13 

T8-6 My Friend the Monkey — B. Boop (6m.) Jan. 20 

R8-7 Two Boys and a Dog— Sport. (9^m.) Jan. 20 

E8-6 Customers Wanted — Popeye (7m.) Jan. 27 

K8-4 Land of Inca Memories — Color Cruise (9m.) . Ian. 27 
A8-7 Music Through the Years— Head. (10m.) ...Feb. 3 

P8-7 Paramount Pictorial 87— (8^ 2 m.) Feb. 3 

L8-4 Unusual Occupations 84 Feb. 3 

V8-7 That's Africa — Paragraphic (9m.) Feb. 10 

R8-8 Hold Your Breath— Sport. (9m.) Feb. 17 

T8-7 So Does An Automobile — Betty Boop Feb. 17 

E8-7 Leave Well Enough Alone — Popeye Feb. 24 

RKO — One Reel 

94303 Bird Dogs— Sportscope (10m.) Nov. 4 

94603 Dude Ranch— Reelism (9m.) Nov. 11 

94204 Venetian Moonlight— Nu Atlas (11m.) Nov. 25 

94104 Ferdinand the Bull— Disney (8m.) Nov. 25 

94304 Blue Grass — Sportscope (10m.) Dec. 2 

94105 Merbabies— Disney (9m.) Dec. 9 

94604 Newsreel— Reelism (10m.) Dec. 9 

94205 Cafe Rendezvous— Nu Atlas (10m.) Dec. 23 

94106 Mother Goose Goes Hollywood — Disney 

(8 min.) Dec. 23 

94305 On the Wing — Sportscope (10m.) Dec. 30 

94107 Donald's Lucky Day— Disney (8m.) Jan. 13 

94206 Tropical Topics— NuAtlas (10m.) Jan. 20 

94306 Bow String — Sportscope (9m.) Jan. 27 

94108 Societv Dog Show— Disney (8m.) Feb. 3 

94605 Pilot Boat— Reelism (9m.) Feb. 3 

94060 Gold— Reelism Feb. 10 

94207 Readin' Ritin' and Rhythm— NuAtlas ( 10m.) Feb. 17 

94307 Not Yet Titled— Sportscope Feb. 24 

94109 Practical Pig— Disney (8m.) Feb. 24 

RKO — Two Reels 

93502 Prairie Papas— Ray Whitley (18m.) Dec. 16 

93105 March of Time— (18m.) Dec. 23 

93602 Romancing Along— Headliner (21m.) Dec. 30 

93703 Crime Rave— Leon Errol (18m.) Jan. 13 

93106 March of Time— (18m.) Jan. 20 

93403 Maid to Order— E. Kennedv (18m.) Jan. 27 

93202 Plumb Crazv— Radio Flash (16m:) Feb. 3 

93107 March of Time Feb. 17 

93603 Swing Vacation — Headliner (19m.) Feb. 24 



9524 
9602 
9507 
9302 
9525 
9403 

9508 
9103 
9526 
9104 
9509 
9303 
9510 
9105 
9527 
9603 



Twentieth Century-Fox — One Reel 

Gandy Goose in Doomsday — T.Toon (6 l / 2 m.) .Dec. 16 

Fashion Forecasts — (9j/>m.) Dec. 23 

Gandy Goose in the Frame Up — T.T. (6 l / 2 m.) .Dec. 30 

Shooting For Par — Sports (\Q l / 2 m.) Jan. 6 

The Owl and the Pussycat — T.Toon (6^m.) . Jan. 13 
What Every Inventor Should Know — Lew 

Lehr (11m.) Jan. 20 

One Gun Gary in Nick of Time — T.T. (7m.) .Jan. 27 
Isle of Pleasure — Lowell Thomas (lOj/jm.) . .Feb. 3 

The Three Bears — T. Toon (6 l / 2 m.) Feb. 10 

The Viking Trail— Lowell Thomas (10^m.) .Feb. 17 

Frozen Feet — T. Toon (7m.) Feb. 24 

Hunting Dogs — Sports Mar. 3 

Gandy Goose in G Man Jitters — T. Toon Mar. 10 

Mystic Siam — Lowell Thomas (10m.) Mar. 17 

The Nutty Network — T. Toon Mar. 24 

Fashion Forecasts No. 3 Mar. 31 



A3366 
A3242 
A3243 
A3354 
A3367 
A3244 
A3355 
A3368 
A3245 
A3356 
A3246 
A3369 
A3247 

A3248 
A3557 
A3370 
A3249 
A 3358 
A3371 
A3359 



A 3225 
A3690 
A3691 
A3692 
A3693 
A3226 
A3781 

A3782 
A3783 
A 3784 
A 3785 
A3227 
A3786 
A3787 
A3788 
A 3789 
A3228 



Universal — One Reel 

Stranger Than Fiction Jf55— (9^m.) Oct. 10 

Rabbit Hunt — Lantz cartoon (7m.) Oct. 17 

The Sailor Mouse — Lantz Car. (7m.) ....Nov. 7 
Going Places With Thomas $56 — (10m.) . .Nov. 14 

Stranger Than Fiction 356 — (9m.) Nov. 21 

Disobedient Mouse— Lantz Cart. (8m.) ...Nov. 28 
Going Places With Thomas 857— (S'Am.) . Nov. 28 

Stranger Than Fiction 957— (9m.) Dec. 5 

Baby Kittens— Lantz cart. (8m.) Dec. 19 

Going Places With Thomas if 58— (9m.) . . .Dec. 26 
Little Blue Blackbird — Lantz cart. (7m.) .. Dec. 26 

Stranger Than Fiction 358 — (9m.) Jan. 2 

(3248) Soup to Mutts (Crack Pot Cruise) — 

Lantz cartoon (7m.) Jan. 9 

I'm Just a Jitterbug — Lantz cart. (7m.) ....Jan. 23 
Going Places With Thomas 359— (9m) (r.) .Jan. 30 

Stranger Than Fiction 359 — (9m.) Feb. 6 

Magic Beans — Lantz cart. (7m.) Feb. 13 

Going Places With Thomas 360— (10m.) . . .Feb. 20 

Stranger Than Fiction 860 — (9m.) Mar. 6 

Going Places With Thomas 861— (9m.) . . .Mar. 13 

Universal — Two Reels 

Music and Models — Mentone (18m.) Dec. 14 

The False Trail— Barry 310 (20m.) Dec. 20 

Heavy Odds— Barry 811 (19m.) Dec. 27 

The Enemy Within— Barry 812 (19m.) . . . .Jan. 3 

Mission of Mercy — Barry 813 (20m.) Jan. 10 

Nautical Knights — Mentone (19m.) Jan. 11 

Death Rides the Air — Scouts to the Rescue 

81 (20 min.) Jan. 17 

Avalanche of Doom — Scouts 82 (22m.) Jan. 24 

Trapped by Indians — Scouts 83 (21m.) . . . .Jan. 31 

River of Doom — Scouts 84 (20m.) Feb. 7 

Descending Doom — Scouts 85 (18m.) Feb. 14 

Wild & Bully— Mentone (19m.) Feb. 15 

Ghost Town Menace — Scouts 86 (20m.) . . .Feb. 21 
Destroyed by Dynamite — Scouts 87 (19m.) .Feb. 28 

Thundering Hoofs — Scouts 88 (17m.) Mar. 7 

The Fire God Strikes— Scouts 89 (18m.) . .Mar. 14 
Bank Notes — Mentone (19m.) Mar. 15 



Vitaphone — One Reel 

4804 The Daffy Doc — Looney Tunes (7m.) Nov. 26 

4604 Nature's Mimics — Color Parade (10m.) ....Dec. 3 

4506 Daffy Duck in Hollywood— Mer. Mel. (8m.) .Dec. 3 

4705 Happy Felton & Orch.— Mel. Mast. (10m.).. Dec. 3 

4304 Treacherous Waters — True Adv. (10m.) Dec. 10 

4904 Robbin' Good— Vit. Varieties (10m.) Dec. 10 

4805 Porky the Gob— Looney Tunes (8m.) Dec. 17 

4507 Count Me Out — Merrie Melodies (7m.) Dec. 17 

4706 Dave Apollon & Orch.— Mel. Mast. (11m.) . .Dec. 24 

4508 The Mice Will Plav— Mer. Mel. (7m.) Dec. 31 

4605 Mechanix Illustrated 82— Col. Par. (10m) (r). Tan. 7 

4305 Human Bomb— True Adv. (11m.) Jan. 7 

4707 Clvde Lucas & Orch.— Mel. Mast. (10m.) ...Jan. 7 

4806 The Lone Stranger & Porky— L. T. (7m.) . . . .Jan. 7 

4509 Doggone Modern — Mer. Mel. (7m.) Tan. 14 

4905 Ski Girl— Varieties (8m.) Jan. 14 

4708 Blue Barron & Orch.— Mel. Mast. (8m.) Tan. 21 

4510 Ham-ateur Night— Mer. Mel. (8m.) Tan. 28 

4807 It's An 111 Wind— L. Tunes (7m.) Jan. 28 

4606 Points on Pointers — Color Par. (9m.) Tan. 28 

4306 High Peril— True Adventures (9m.) Feb. 4 

4709 Terrv Livingston & Orch.— Mel. Mnst. (10m.). Feb. 4 

4511 Robinhood Makes Good— Mer. Mel. (8m.) . . .Feb. 11 
4R08 Porky's Tire Trouble— L. Tunes (7m.) Feb. 18 

4906 Gadgeteers— Varieties film.) Feb. 18 

4403 The Master's Touch — Tech. Snccial Feb. 18 

4607 Mechanix Illustrated No. 3 — Color Par Feb. 25 

4512 Goldnish Daze — Mer. Melodies (7m.) Feb. 25 

4710 Russ Morgan & Orch. — Mel. Masters Feb. 25 

Vitaphone — Two Reels 

4003 Swingtime in the Movies — Tech. Pro. (20m.). Jan. 7 
4021 Sophomore Swing — Bwav. Brev. (18m.) Jan. 21 

4019 Small Town Idol— Bway. Brev. (16m.) Feb. 4 

4004 Lincoln in the White House— Tech. (21m.) . .Feb. 11 

4020 Sundae Serenade — Bway. Brev. (17m.) Feb. 25 

(4018 "Sparc Parts," listed in the last Index as a January 

21 release, has been postponed.) 



NEWSWEEKLY 
NEW YORK 
RELEASE DATES 
Universal 



745 Wednesday 

746 Saturday . . 

747 Wednesday 

748 Saturday .. 

749 Wednesday 

750 Saturday . , 

751 Wednesday 

752 Saturday . . 

753 Wednesday 

754 Saturday . . 

755 Wednesday 

756 Saturday . , 

757 Wednesday 



.Feb. 15 
.Feb. 18 
. Feb. 22 
. Feb. 25 



1 
4 
8 
11 



. Mar. 
. Mar. 
. Mar. 
. Mar. 
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.Mar. 18 
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. Mar. 29 



Fox Movietone 



45 Wednesday . 

46 Saturday . . . 

47 Wednesday . 

48 Saturday . . . 

49 Wednesday 

50 Saturday . . 

51 Wednesday 

52 Saturday . 

53 Wednesday 

54 Saturday . 
■ 55 Wednesday 

56 Saturday . 

57 Wednesady 



..Feb. 15 
. . Feb. 18 
..Feb. 22 
..Feb. 25 
..Mar. 1 
..Mar. 4 
. . Mar. 8 
. .Mar. 11 
..Mar. 15 
. .Mar. 18 
. . Mar. 22 
..Mar. 25 
. . Mar. 29 



Paramount News 

56 Wednesday 

57 Saturday . . 

58 Wednesday 

59 Saturday . , 

60 Wednesday 

61 Saturday . 

62 Wednesady 

63 Saturday . 

64 Wednesday 

65 Saturday . 

66 Wednesday 

67 Saturday . 

68 Wednesday 



..Feb. 15 
..Feb. 18 
..Feb. 22 
..Feb. 25 
..Mar. 1 
..Mar. 4 
..Mar. 8 
. .Mar. 11 
..Mar. 15 
..Mar. 18 
. . Mar. 22 
. . Mar. 25 
. . Mar. 29 



Metrotone News 



243 


Wednesday 


..Feb. 


15 


244 


Saturday . . 


. . Feb. 


18 


245 


Wednesday 


..Feb. 


22 


246 


Saturday . . 


..Feb. 


25 


247 


Wednesday 


. Mar. 


1 


248 


Saturday . 


. Mar. 


4 


249 


Wednesday 


. Mar. 


8 


250 


Saturday . 


. Mar. 


11 


251 


Wednesday 


.Mar. 


15 


252 


Saturday . 


. Mar. 


18 


253 


Wednesday 


. Mar. 


22 


254 


Saturday . 


. Mar. 


25 


255 


Wednesday 


.Mar. 


29 




Pathe News 





95260 
95161 
95262 
95163 
95264 
95165 
95266 
95167 
95268 
95169 
95270 
95171 
95272 



Wed. (E.) 
Sat. (O.). 
Wed. (E.) 
Sat. (O.). 
Wed. (E.). 
Sat. (O.).. 
Wed. (E.). 
Sat. (O.).. 
Wed. (E.). 
Sat. (O.).. 
Wed. (E.). 
Sat. (O.).. 
Wed. (E.) . 



.Feb. 15 
.Feb. 18 
. Feb. 22 
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Mar. 1 
Mar. 4 
Mar. 8 
Mar. 11 
Mar. 15 
Mar. 18 
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Mar. 25 
Mar. 29 



Entered as second-class matter January 4, 1921, at the post office at New York, New York, under the act of March 3, 1879. 



Harrison's Reports 

Yearly Subscription Rates : 1270 SIXTH AVENUE Published Weakly by 

United States $15.00 R™„, Harrison's Reports. Inc., 

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Mexico, Cuba, Spain 1G.50 , , _, . . 

Great Britain 15.75 MotIon Plcture Reviewing Service ■.-.mm,.* T„l v i i<iq 

Australia, New Zealand, Devoted Chiefly to the Interests of the Exhibitors Established July 1, 1919 

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A REVIEWING SERVICE FREE FROM THE INFLUENCE OF FILM ADVERTISING 

Vol. XXI SATURDAY, FEBRUARY 25, 1939 No. 8 



HAVE THE PRODUCERS REALIZED AT 
LAST WHAT A TOUGH COMPETITOR 
IS RADIO? 

For the week beginning Sunday, February 12, the follow- 
ing motion picture stars were announced for radio appear- 
ances : 

Sunday (between the hours of 4:30 and 10 p. m.) : 
Charles Laughton, Andrea Leeds, John Garfield, Joan 
Crawford, Olivia de Havilland, Spencer Tracy, Don 
Ameche, Dorothy Lamour, Sterling Halloway, Edgar Ber- 
gen with his Charlie McCarthy, Charles Boyer, Virginia 
Bruce, Irene Rich, Ronald Colman. Akim Tamiroff, Rob- 
ert Benchley, Carole Lombard, and the Marx Brothers. 

Monday : Bert Lytcll, Eddie Cantor, Lionel Barrymore, 
Edward Arnold, and Maureen O'Sullivan. 

Tuesday : Edward G. Robinson, Claire Trevor, Al Jol- 
son, Martha Rave, Patsy Kelly, and Edna May Oliver. 

Wednesday : Ken Murray, Charles Ruggles, Ned Sparks, 
Frances Langford, and George Raft. 

Thursday : Florence Eldridge, Fredric March, Frank 
Morgan, Fanny Brice, Bing Crosby, Bob Burns, Nigel 
Bruce, and Gene Autrey. 

Friday : Jack Haley, Gracie Allen, and George Burns. 

Saturday : Joe E. Brown. 

Between noon time and ten o'clock Sunday night, one 
hundred and fifty-six features are given by the different 
important radio stations. 

Beginning one o'clock, Sunday, the following important 
radio features were given without a conflict of time : King 
Carol of Rumania broadcasting from Bucharest, followed 
by a symphony concert from that city ; symphony orches- 
tra, with Grace Moore, soprano ; Secretary of Agriculture 
Wallace, and Jan Masaryk, former Czech Minister to Eng- 
land ; Raymond Massey, in a scene from '"Abe Lincoln in 
Illinois," now playing to capacity houses in New York ; 
Memorial to Pope Pius XI ; Philharmonic Symphony, with 
Walter Gieseking, at the piano ; Charles Laughton reciting 
from London Lincoln's Gettysburg Address ; "If This Be 
Crime," a play, with Andrea Leeds ; "Last Flight to Bing- 
hamton," a play with Joan Crawford ; Secretary of State 
Hull speaking on Foreign Relations ; Screen Guild, with 
Olivia de Havilland and Spencer Tracy speaking; "This Is 
New York," a Variety show with Raymond Massey read- 
ing "John Brown's Body" ; Foreign Policy, by Senator 
Gerald Nye. 

There used to be a time when Sunday was the biggest 
day of the week for picture theatres ; today, it has become 
as bad as old Monday. Why not? With so many special 
features given every Sunday, and with so many picture 
stars appearing during the busiest theatre hours, how could 
the motion picture business avoid declining? 

Another evening that has been ruined for the picture 
theatres is Thursday, because of the Kate Smith, the Major 
Bowes, and the Rudy Vallee programs, in addition to the 
many picture stars that appear on the different programs. 
The following stars participated in radio programs Thurs- 
day, February 16, beginning 7 :30 p. m. : 

Joe Penner, Rosalind Russell. Robert Montgomery, Rob- 
ert Young, Fanny Brice. Frank Morgan, Florence Eld- 
ridge, Fredric March, Gene Autrey, Bing Crosby, Bob 
Burns, and Nigel Bruce. 

On the same evening, Walter Wanger spoke on the 
Town Hall program for about fifteen minutes. 

Why should any picture-goer want to go to a picture 
show on Thursday evening, paying his good money for it, 
when he can stay home and, in its comforts, enjoy an eve- 
ning with so much program variety, free of cost, particu- 
larly if the weather should happen to be slightly bad? 



Evidently the producers have begun to see light, for 
Darryl Zanuck, of Twentieth Century-Fox, has announced, 
as all of you know by this time, that he has withdrawn 
Tyrone Power from radio work. This was followed by an 
announcement from MGM that it has decided to withdraw 
its stars from such work. Warner Bros., too, have been re- 
ported as contemplating seriously of following suit. 

That leaves only RKO's "Gateway to Hollywood," con- 
ducted by Jesse L. Lasky. But there is no doubt that this 
company, too, will cease encouraging its competitor. 

But even if all producers should either abandon broad- 
casting or pull their stars out of broadcasts, they will not 
have done a complete job until they give up putting into 
pictures radio stars ; otherwise, they build up the business 
of their competitors. Can they name one other business 
where those engaged in it help their competitors as much as 
the motion picture producers help the radio people? 

Harrison's Reports suggests to the Allied negotiating 
committee to take the radio-competition matter up with the 
distributor negotiating committee next time the two com- 
mittees meet, with a view to determining a definite policy 
toward radio. 



HAVE THE HOLLYWOOD BRAINS 
GONE DRY? 

The producers seem to have gone in for remaking pictures 
on a grand scale for the coming season. So far they have 
announced the titles of at least twenty-five such pictures, 
and before their plans are formulated finally they may 
decide upon many more. 

Few remade pictures have so far proved successful at the 
box office. The reason for it is the fact that often they 
did not have as big names as the original versions, the 
stories were familiar to the public and in some cases out- 
moded, and in most cases the production values were not as 
good as those of the original versions. 

"Over the Hill to the Poor House," for example, which 
cost less than seventy thousand dollars, took in more than 
five million dollars. Did the remade version, which was 
released by Fox November 29, 1931, and which cost close 
to a million dollars, make much money for you? 

"The Merry Widow" is just another example. The orig- 
inal version made money for everybody, whereas the re- 
made version, which cost many times more, "flopped," com- 
paratively speaking. 

Many more such pictures could be cited. "Zaza" is one. 

With a view to acquainting you with the "remakes" that 
have been announced for this year, I am giving here an 
analysis of them : 

Columbia 

This company has announced that it is planning to pro- 
duce "Front Page." The original picture was released by 
United Artists February 15, 1931. It is a newspaper yarn 
and made a great hit at that time. 

Metro-Gold wyn-Mayer 

This company has announced the following remakes : 
"He Who Gets Slapped." This picture was produced by 
the same company and released November 2, 1924, with 
the late Lon Chancy, Norma Shearer, and the late John 
Gilbert in the leading parts. It is a tragedy, and deals with 
a brilliant scientist, who finds out that the woman he loved 
and the man he had trusted were both false. Mr. Chancy 
had given a great performance. 

"Within the Law." This picture was first produced in 
1917, by Vitagraph, with Alice Joyce ; also in 1923, by First 
(Continued on lost page) 



30 



HARRISON'S REPORTS 



February 25, 1939 



"Huckleberry Finn" with Mickey Rooney, 
Walter Connolly and William Frawley 

(MGM, February 10 ; time, 90 K' min.) 

Considering Mickey Kooney's popularity and the fame of 
the story, this is a strung box-office attraction. It is, how- 
ever, just fairly good entertainment. When produced by 
Paramount in 1931, the character of Tom Sawyer was an 
important part of the story ; but that is not so in this pic- 
ture — the screenplay here treats only with Huckleberry. 
This is to be regretted, for the actions of these two boys 
together were, in the last picture, the cause for hearty laugh- 
ter. Although this version has its amusing moments, it lacks 
the light touch of the other one. The closing scenes are ex- 
citing, though unpleasant, because of the danger to a sym- 
pathetic character, whose life Was endangered by an unruly 
mob that wanted to lynch him : — 

When Huckleberry (Mickey Rooney) learns that his 
drunken father (Victor Kilian) was demanding $800 from 
the widow Douglas (Elisabeth Risdon), who had taken 
Huck into her home, he runs away. But his father catches 
him and locks him in his hut. Huck escapes and arranges 
things so as to make it appear as if he had been murdered. 
While continuing on his way, Huck finds Jim (Rex In- 
gram), the widow's slave, hiding; he had intended to run 
away to his wife. Huck insists on taking him back to town, 
but when he hears that the Sheriff's men were looking for 
Jim, whom they suspected as Huck's murderer, he permits 
Jim to travel with him. They become acquainted with two 
gamblers (Walter Connolly and William Frawley). Huck 
learns that they were out to dupe two young girls (Jo Ann 
Sayers and Lynne Carver) of their legacy; he gives them 
away. They, in the meantime, had told the authorities that 
Jim was wanted for murder. While Huck was recuperat : ng 
from a snake bite, Jim is sent back to stand trial. Huck, on 
recovering, is horrified. He enlists the aid of Captain 
Brandy (Minor Watson) to get him back to his home 
town; they arrive just in time to save Jim from an infuri- 
ated mob, intent on lynching him. Huck, whose father had 
died, goes back to live with the widow; he promises, in 
return for Jim's freedom, to go to school and to wear shoes. 

The plot was taken from the Mark Twain story; Hugo 
Butler wrote the screen play, Richard Thorpe directed it, 
and Joseph L. Mankiewicz produced it. 

Suitability, Class A. 

"Twelve Crowded Hours" with Richard Dix 
and Lucille Ball 

(KKO, March ; time, 64 min.) 

A fairly good program melodrama. The story is interest- 
ing, moving at a pretty fast pace. Audiences who go in for 
pictures of this type will find it to their liking, for it holds 
one's attention well. Had a little more attention been paid 
to it, however, it might have been a much letter entertain- 
ment, for the story had the ingredients for a good news- 
paper-gangster melodrama. For instance, the excitement in 
some of the situations could have been intensified had the 
director used musical accompaniment. The romantic inter- 
est is of minor importance : — 

While accepting a lift from two men he was acquainted 
with, the editor of a newspaper is killed along with the two 
men when a truck crashes into their taxicab, overturning it. 
Richard Dix, a reporter on the paper, suspects foul play. 
He knows that his fiancee's brother (Allan Lane), a pa- 
roled convict, who had threatened the editor, would be 
arrested. Dix rushes to Lane, forcing him to hide out in his 
apartment. In the meantime, Dix follows up a hunch con- 
cerning Cyrus W. Kendall, operator of a city-wide policy 
game. Kendall, who had arranged the murder of the two 
men in the taxicab, because they were trying to leave town 
with money belonging to his policy business, follows the 
third member of the party, who had left on the train with 
the money. He kills him, and takes the bag containing 
$80,000. Dix. who had followed Kendall and knew what had 
happened, fakes a holdup and takes the bag from him ; he 
checks it in a subway station. Kendall, who knew Dix, fol- 
lows him to his apartment and threatens him with death 
unless he would turn over the bag. In the meantime, the 
police inspector (Donald MacBride) finds Lane and arrests 
him. Eventually Dix is able to prove his theories about how 
the murders had occurred and Kendall's part in them. Ken- 
dall, in an effort to escape from the nolice, is killed in the 
trap he had set for Dix and Miss Ball. 

Garret Fort and Peter Ruric wrote the story, and John 
Twist, the screenplay : Lew Landers directed it, and Robert 
Sisk produced it. In the cast are Granville Bates, John Ar- 
ledge, Bradley Page, Dorothy Lee, Addison Richards, and 
others. 

Not for children. Adult fare. Class B. 



"Cafe Society" with Madeleine Carroll 
and Fred MacMurray 

(Paramount, March 3; time, 83 min.) 

A very good comedy. The star names, the lavish produc- 
tion, and the romantic interludes will suffice for the masses. 
Sophisticated audiences will enjoy the satirical comedy re- 
lating to the antics of members of so-called cafe society, a 
sit which has received much publicity of late. The fact that 
the story itself is the ordinary one of the poor but proud 
hero sutKluing the rich but wilful heroine in no way de- 
tracts from the entertaining quality of the picture, for the 
dialogue is fresh, the situations amusing, and the perform- 
ances excellent : — 

Madeleine Carroll, spoiled grand-daughter of millionaire 
Claude Gillingwater, makes a bet with society reporter 
Allyn Joslyn, who claimed that she was no longer news, 
that she could do something so startling that he would have 
to write about her in his column. She induces Fred Mac- 
Murray, a ship news reporter, who had fallen in love with 
her at first sight, to marry her; he thinks she really loved 
him. But immediately after the ceremony she telephones to 
Joslyn, claiming to have won the bet; MacMurray is dis- 
gust', d, and leaves her. When Gillingwater hears about the 
marriage, he visits MacMurray, confessing his admiration 
for him. His suggestion that nothing be done about annul- 
ling the marriage for a time so as to avoid publicity meets 
with. Mac Murray's approval. In order to keep up appear- 
ances, Miss Carroll goes out with MacMurray, but they 
quarrel constantly. Soon, however, she learns to love him. 
Just when tilings begin to go smoothly she becomes jealous 
of MacMurray's friendship with Shirley Ross, a cafe 
singer. After one wild night, during which Miss Carroll 
becomes tipsy, insults Miss Ross, fights with MacMurray, 
and makes a general nuisance of herself, she realizes how 
disgracefully she had acted. She apologizes to Miss Ross 
and to MacMurray, with whom she becomes reconciled. 

Virginia VanUpp wrote the story and screen play ; W. H. 
( iriffith directed it, and Jeff Lazarus produced it. In the cast 
arc Jesse Ralph, Paul Hurst, Don Alvarado, Mary Parker, 
and others. 

Suitability, Class A. 

"Wife, Husband and Friend" with Warner 
Baxter, Loretta Young and Binnie Barnes 

( 20th Century-Fox, March 3 ; time, 79 min.) 

A good adult comedy ; it has been given a lavish produc- 
tion. The story, which is somewhat novel, should appeal 
both to class audiences and to the masses. The dialogue is 
sparkling, the plot development intelligent, and the acting 
and direction outstanding. Starting out as a domestic com- 
edy, it develops into a triangle comedy, with complications 
that get the innocent hero into hearty-laughter provoking 
compromising positions. One of the situations, although 
pretty far-fetched, should prove quite amusing to an aver- 
age audience ; it shows the hero, a victim of stage fright, 
making a fool of himself during an operatic performance : — 

Warner Baxter, warned by his millionaire father-in-law 
(George Barbier) that his life would be made miserable if 
he permitted his wife (Loretta Young) to take up a career 
as a singer, decides to do something about it. He agrees to 
her giving a recital, thinking that she would be cured after 
that, for he felt that she had a bad voice. But her recital is 
a success and she is fired with ambition, deciding to go on 
with her career. Binnie Barnes, a famous singer, invites 
Baxter to her apartment on the pretext that she wanted to 
talk about his wife's voice : but she wanted to see him alone, 
for she had been attracted to him. Baxter sings a song for 
her; she is amazed at the quality of his voice and induces 
him to study with her. She tells him it would be a good way 
of curing his wife. Baxter agrees ; he does not tell his wife 
anything about it. Instead, he goes off on a tour with Miss 
Barnes, leading Miss Young to believe that it was a busi- 
ness trip. In the meantime. Miss Young gets an engagement 
at a theatre where she is booed off ; this cures her. But 
when she learns what Baxter had done, she is furious and 
leaves him. In the meantime, Baxter's business was in so 
bad a shape that he agrees to appear at an operatic perform- 
ance with Miss Barnes. On the opening night, he is so 
dazed that, when he appears on the stage, his actions are 
clumsy and he is laughed off. Miss Young, who had been in 
the audience, rushes backstage to comfort him. Being hap- 
pily reconciled, they decide to give up music as a career. 

James M. Cain wrote the story, and Nurmally Johnson, 
the screen play ; Gregory Ratoff directed it, and Mr. John- 
son produced it. In the cast are Cesar Romero, J. Edward 
Bromherg, Eugene Pallette, Helen Westley, and others. 

Suitability, Class A. 



February 25, 1939 



HARRISON'S REPORTS 



31 



"Stagecoach" with Claire Trevor, John 
Wayne and Thomas Mitchell 

( United Artists, March 3 ; time, 95 min.) 
A rousing Western melodrama. It blends exciting action 
with comedy, human appeal, and romance, offering enter- 
tainment with a strong mass appeal. The situation in which 
the Indians give chase to the stagecoach, attempting to kill 
all its occupants, is so thrilling that audiences will shout 
with excitement. Incidentally, the horseback riding in these 
scenes is something to marvel at. An equally thrilling situa- 
tion comes towards the end, when the hero meets and shoots 
it out with the three men who had killed his brother and 
had framed a charge against him that had sent him to 
prison. In between these melodramatic scenes, one is kept 
amused by the actions of Thomas Mitchell, a doctor who 
drank too much. The human interest is brought about as a 
result of the sympathy one feels for Louise Piatt, one of the 
passengers, who gives birth to her child while enroute to 
meet her husband, an officer in the Army. The romance is 
developed logically : — . 

A stagecoach starts out with five passengers: Claire 
Trevor, who had been forced out of town on charges of 
immorality: Thomas Mitchell, who drank up all his money 
and could not pay his rent; Louise Piatt, a southerner, 
who was on her way to meet her husband ; John Carradine, 
a gambler, who went along to protect Miss Piatt ; Donald 
Meek, a liquor drummer ; and Berton Churchill, the town 
banker, who was running away with the bank's receipts. 
The driver (Andy Devine) was accompanied on the front 
seat by the Sheriff (George Bancroft), who was out to find 
John Wayne, who had escaped from prison. On the way, 
they meet Wayne, who, knowing that his services would be 
needed if they were to encounter Indians, offers no resistance. 
The stagecoach is forced to stop when Miss Piatt becomes 
ill. Mitchell sobers up sufficiently to take care of her during 
the birth of her child. Churchill fumes at the delay. Two 
days later they start out again, and this time they meet the 
Indians. After a terrific battle with them, during which they 
are rescued by the U. S. Army, they arrive at their destina- 
tion. Bancroft, knowing that Wayne was innocent, permits 
him to fight it out with his enemies. Wayne kills the three 
men and is ready to go back to prison ; but Bancroft frees 
him. Wayne, even though he knew of Miss Trevor's repu- 
tation, asks her to marry him ; she accepts his proposal. 

Ernest Haycox wrote the story, and Dudley Nichols, the 
screen play; John Ford directed it, and Walter Wanger 
produced it. In the cast are Tim Holt, Chris Martin, Fran- 
cis Ford, Florence Lake, and others. 

Suitability, Class A. 

"Yes, My Darling Daughter" with Priscilla 
Lane and Jeffrey Lynn 

(First National, February 25 ; time. 85^ min.) 

An amusing sophisticated comedy, suitable particularly 
for the class trade. It will probably do good business, since 
the players are popular, and the play, from which the plot 
was adapted, is known fairly well. Although nothing im- 
moral takes place, some parents may feel it is not the proper 
kind of entertainment for adolescents, for the dialogue is 
suggestive. It has been handled, however, intelligently and 
in good taste. Another thing in its favor is the fact that the 
players, by reason of fine performances, win the spectator's 
sympathy ; at no time are their actions offensive : — 

When Priscilla Lane, daughter of wealthy parents, learns 
that Jeffrey Lynn, with whom she was in love, had accepted 
a position in Belgium, which would keep him away from her 
for two years, she suggests that they go away for a week- 
end together in order to get better acquainted and to be sure 
of their love for each other. Her idea was not to tell her 
mother (Fay Bainter) about it, but when her mother con- 
fronts her, Miss Lane admits the truth. Miss Bainter is out- 
raged and orders her not to leave the house ; but Miss Lane 
reprimands her, reminding her that she was a liberal per- 
son, one who had always preached about the rights of indi- 
viduals. Miss Bainter finally permits her to go. When Miss 
Lane's father (Ian Hunter) finds out what had happened, 
he is furious and sets out to bring her back. But his mother- 
in-law (May Robson), who was somewhat of an individ- 
ualist herself, prevents him. When Miss Lane returns and 
is met by her angry father, she is shocked to think that he 
had mistrusted her. She assures her mother that the week- 
end had been a perfectly innocent one. When Lynn arrives 
at the house and learns that every one had known about the 
week-end, he is angered and leaves. Miss Lane's family 
suggests that she go after him; and that is just what she 
does. Lynn is amazed to find the family at the dock to bid 
him goodbye. But when he goes to his stateroom he under- 
stands, for Miss Lane was there waiting for him. She sug- 
*See also pages 42 and 44. 



gests that the Captain marry them, to which he readily 
agrees. 

The plot was adapted from the play by Mark Reed ; 
Casey Robinson wrote the screen play, Wm. Keighley di- 
rected it, and Benjamin Glazer produced it. In the cast are 
Roland Young, Genevieve Tobin, and Edward Gargan. 

Unsuitable for children and adolescents. Adult fare. 
Class B. 



"Fast and Loose" with Robert Montgomery 
and Rosalind Russell 

(MGM, February 17 ; time, 79 min.) 

This is a follow-up to "Fast Company," with Robert 
Montgomery and Rosalind Russell replacing Melvyn 
Douglas and Florence Rice. It is just as good as the first 
one, for it follows the formula used so successfully there — 
that of combining murder-mystery melodrama with com- 
edy. The story is mystifying enough to satisfy the most 
ardent follower of that type of entertainment ; and, at the 
same time, the comedy and romantic interludes give it 
added value. The production is good, and the acting and 
direction completely satisfying : — 

Montgomery and his wife (Miss Russell), owners of a 
rare book business, are overjoyed when, just as their fi- 
nances had given out, they are engaged by an eccentric mil- 
lionaire (Etienne Girardot) to buy for him a famous manu- 
script, owned by Ralph Morgan. Together with Alan Dine- 
hart, head of the company that had insured the manuscript, 
they visit Morgan, whose secretary was a friend of Mont- 
gomery's. Montgomery, who did amateur detective work on 
the side for the insurance company, realizes that something 
was wrong ; he discovers that Morgan's son, who owed 
gambling debts to Sidney Blackmer, had pilfered the li- 
brary of valuable books, which he had sold. Every one is 
shocked when Morgan is murdered and the manuscript 
stolen ; the manuscript is found later. Upon investigation, 
Montgomery notices that the manuscript they had found 
was a forgery. Later he learns that the original had been 
stolen and sold to another person some time past without 
Morgan's knowledge. After many exciting encounters with 
Blackmer and his men, during which he and his wife are 
constantly in danger, Montgomery uncovers the real crimi- 
nal. He proves that Reginald Owen, Morgan's private 
broker, had stolen the manuscript : when Morgan, on the 
night of his murder, had discovered the deception, Owen 
had killed him. Miss Russell tries to help out by shooting at 
Owen when he tries to escape ; instead, she shoots Mont- 
gomery. But Owen is captured ; Miss Russell comforts 
Montgomery. 

Harry Kurnitz wrote the original screen play ; Edwin L. 
Marin directed it, and Frederick Stephani produced it. In 
the cast are Jo Ann Savers, Joan Marsh, Tom Collins, and 
others. 

Unsuitable for children. Good for adults. Class B. 

"You Can't Cheat an Honest Man" with 
W. C. Fields and Edgar Bergen 

( Universal, February 17; time, 79 min.) 

This is the type of comedy that should go over well in 
crowded theatres. Completely lacking in story values, the 
picture, nevertheless, manages to entertain one, for W. C. 
Fields and Edgar Bergen are both excellent. The story is 
just an excuse for both of them to do their various acts ; one 
or the other is on the screen at all times. Some of Fields' 
gags are old and others new. One of the comical situations 
is that in which he uses an elephant to help him take a 
shower bath ; another, that in which he tells a story of his 
exploits as a big-game hunter, during which he mentions 
the word snake quite often. Each time he does so, his 
hostess, who was allergic to the sound of that word, faints. 
Bergen uses two dummies — Charlie McCarthy and Mor- 
timer. He is, as usual, amusing, except that on occasion his 
routines are too long. 

In the development of the plot, Fields, owner of a travel- 
ling circus, finds himself in financial difficulties. When his 
daughter (Constance Moore), who had been away at col- 
lege, learns about it, she decides to marry James Bush, a 
wealthy nincomiioop, even though she loved Bergen, who 
worked in the circus. But when Bush's snobbish parents 
call her father a vulgarian and order him out of their home, 
Miss Moore leaves, happy to be rid of Bush. She and Ber- 
gen are united. 

Charles Bogle wrote the story, and George Marion, Jr., 
Richard Mack, and Everett Freeman, the screen play ; 
George Marshall directed it, and Lester Cowan produced it 
In the cast are Mary Forbes, Thurston Hall, John Arledge, 
and Princess Baba. 

Suitability, Class A. 



32 



HARRISON'S REPORTS 



February 25, 1939 



National, with Norma Talmadge. The story deals with a 
heroine who is railroaded into the penitentiary. When she 
comes out she decides to get even with the man who had 
framed her by striking at him through his son. She even- 
tually falls in love with the son. A powerful subject, but 
somewhat outmoded. 

"Our Modern Daughters," released in 1929 under the 
title "Our Modern Maidens," witli Joan Crawford and 
Douglas Fairbanks, Jr. 

"Penthouse." released in 1933, with Warner Baxter and 
Myrna Loy. It is a strong melodrama, dealing with gang- 
sters and a hero who defends them. Not worth remaking. 

"Love Came Back to Me," released in 1931 as "New 
Moon," with Grace Moore and Lawrence Tibbett. It is the 
story of a Russian Princess who falls in love with a Cos- 
sack hero, a great singer. It is not great enough for re- 
making. 

Paramount 

"Beau Geste," produced in 1926, with Ronald Colman and 
Alice Joyce. The story deals with a self-sacrificing Eng- 
lishman who had left England and gone to Algiers and 
joined the French Foreign Legion, drawing upon himself 
the blame for a wrong committed by some one else in the 
family. It made a great hit at that time. 

"The Cat and the Canary," produced by Universal in 
1927 as a silent picture. It is a haunted-house melodrama. 
Since it was produced more than twelve years ago, it might 
go over if Paramount should produce as good a picture as 
Universal produced at that time. 

"Casey Jones," released by Ravart in 1928. 

RKO 

"A Bill of Divorcement," produced by this company in 
1932. This is the picture that ushered Katharine Hepburn 
to the screen. It is a powerful subject, but since it deals 
with insanity it should not be remade. RKO announced 
Anne Shirley for the part of Miss Hepburn. If so, it is a 
poor selection, because Miss Shirley, a fine actress in unso- 
phisticated parts, may be lost in so powerfully dramatic a 
part. 

"The Hunchback of Notre Dame," produced by Univer- 
sal in 1923, with the late Lon Chancy in the leading part. It 
is a powerful story, and since it was produced sixteen years 
ago it might be worth repeating. The outcome, however, 
will depend on whether RKO makes it as big as Universal 
made it. 

Twentieth Century-Fox 

"The Gorilla." This picture was produced by First Na- 
tional first in 1927, at which time it proved successful, and 
then in 1930, at which time it proved a box-office "flop." It 
is a sort of creepy melodrama, having as a central figure a 
gorilla, who endangers peoples' lives. 

Warner Bros. 

This company has announced the greatest number of re- 
makes : nine, so far. 

"Disraeli." This picture has already been produced twice, 
once in 1921, by United Artists, and once by Warner Bros., 
in 1929 ; both times with George Arliss in the leading part. 
This time Warner Bros, plans to put Claude Rains in the 
leading part. In the opinion of Harrison's Reports, the 
subject will not bear a third repetition, regardless of the 
considerations that may have prompted Warner Bros, to 
remake it. 

"The Changeling," produced bv this companv (First 
National ) in 1929, with Dorothy Mackaill, under the title 
"His Captive Woman." It was first produced as a silent 
picture, and then rearranged with a few sound sequences. 
The story does not, in this paper's opinion, bear repetition. 

"The Drug King," released by this comnanv December 3, 
1932, under the title "The Match King." The story dealt 
with Kreuger, the Swedish match Baron. "Unpleasant and 
demoralizing," is what the review in Harrison's Reports 
said. Unless altered radically, the story will not bear repeti- 
tion. 

"One Way Passage," produced in 1932 with Kav Francis 
and William Powell. Warner Bros, has announced that, if 
it will produce it, it will give the Kay Francis role to Mar- 
lene Dietrich. The review in Harrison's Reports said : 
"A fairly interesting though depressing drama." Both hero 
and heroine were presented as believing that they should 
soon die. It is not a subject that bears repetition. 

"The Millionaire." produced in 1931 with George Arliss. 
This picture was first produced in 1922, by United Artists 
with the same star. The United Artists version turned out 
excellent, although it did not make any money for the ex- 
hibitors. The Warner Bros, version turned out a fair en- 



tertainment, but did not set anybody's box office afire. The 
subject hardly bears a third repetition. 

"Outward Bound," produced in 1930, with Leslie How- 
ard. The picture turned out excellent, but because it dealt 
with dead people, acting in after life as if they were alive, 
it did not make any money. It is a subject that should be 
left alone. 

"The Roaring Crowd," produced in 1932, with James 
Cagney, and released April 16, under the title, "The Crowd 
Roars." It is an automobile racing subject, with a horrible 
scene ; it shows one of the racing cars catching fire and 
burning the driver to death. It is so gruesome a story that 
it should not be touched, even though it is extremely thrill- 
ing. There is too much resentment among the picture-going 
public against nerve-shattering pictures; parents are com- 
plaining because of the effect on the nervous system of their 
children. 

"The Sea Hawk," produced in 1924 with Milton Sills 
and Wallace Beery. The picture turned out to be so fasci- 
nating that it might bear repetition, particularly since it 
was so long ago that it was first produced. 

"Three Cheers for the Irish," produced in 1932 by Para- 
mount, with George Cohan, and Claudette Colbert, and re- 
leased as "The Phantom President." The Paramount pic- 
ture flopped "terribly." The story is not extraordinary, and 
unless the Warners plan to alter it radically it will not 
bear repetition. 

Your fight for the elimination of block-booking and 
blind-selling should be strengthened considerably if you 
should call the attention of your Congressmen to these re- 
makes ; you should be able to convince them that you have 
no power to prevent the production of pictures that may 
prove either demoralizing to children, or destructive to your 
box office. 



THE CONSEQUENCES OF THE REPEAL 
OF THE NORTH DAKOTA THEATRE 
DIVORCEMENT LAW 

Have you ever watched what happens when some one 
throws a rock into a nest of wasps? 

That is exactly what is going to happen as a result of the 
"peculiar circumstances" under which the North Dakota 
Theatre Divorcement Law was repealed; similar bills will 
be introduced in the legislatures of so many states that those 
responsible for the North Dakota repeal measure will have 
time for nothing else but to work for their repeal. 

There is no question that the repeal of the North. Dakota 
Law has incensed the exhibitors, if we are to judge by the 
statements of some of their leaders. According to Motion 
Picture Daily, Mr. Abram F. Myers, speaking for himself, 
stated the following: 

"That and other activities behind our backs, while we 
have been engaged in the trade practice negotiations, make 
us wonder whether we had better not cage the dove of 
peace and renew the fight. We are not well enough manned 
to cover both fronts and it will have to be one or the other." 

And Col. H. A. Cole, as quoted in the Film Daily, 3aid 
the following : 

"f can speak for myself only and not for the committee. 
Only the committee of Allied's board of directors has the 
right or power to withdraw from such negotiations. How- 
ever, as an individual and as president of Allied, I should 
like to state that I deeply resent, not an open attempt of 
distributor interests to repeal the North Dakota statute, but 
the political trickery used to bring that about at this critical 
time. Such a maneuver can leave the independent exhibitors 
nothing but a feeling of complete distrust and a fear that 
similar tactics may prevail in all their future relations." 

In commenting upon this incident in last week's issue, I 
said that the last word in this drama has not yet been 
spoken. It seems as if I was fully justified in that prediction 
if we are to judge by what the February 15 issue of the 
Film Daily, in a dispatch from Bismark, N. D., said partly : 
"Federal investigation of circumstances involving a vote to 
repeal the North Dakota theatre divorcement act was in- 
dicated when Speaker Oscar Hagen of the House yesterday 
said he was withholding his signature on House Bill 245 
after being informed the Department of Justice agents were 
on the sround," and by "It looks very funny to us and we 
don't like it at all," as the February 16 issue of Motion 
Picture Daily quotes a Department of Justice representa- 
tive as having said. 

If the Department of Justice should undertake to investi- 
gate the different moves that were made in the repeal of 
that law, there may be interesting developments. 



Entered as second-class matter January 4, 1921, at the post offloe at New York, New York, under the act of March 3, 1879. 



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A REVIEWING SERVICE FREE FROM THE INFLUENCE OF FILM ADVERTISING 

Vol. XXI SATURDAY, MARCH 4, 1939 No. 9 



FIGHTING A LOSING BATTLE 

From reports published in the trade papers, it seems cer- 
tain that an application will be made to the United States 
Supreme Court for a re-hearing in the case of United States 
Z'S. Interstate Circuit et al, in which case Judge William H. 
Atwell, of the Federal District Court at Dallas, Texas, was 
sustained in holding that a monopoly existed in the distri- 
bution of films in Texas. 

In the opinion of Harrison's Reports, such an applica- 
tion will be but another vain effort on the part of the dis- 
tributors to accomplish, through a weak claim of right, 
what could be accomplished through cooperation. 

As far back as June 4, 1938, this paper warned that, if the 
distributors should appeal to the United States Supreme 
Court from the findings of Judge Atwell, "all they could 
possibly accomplish would be to add the U. S. Supreme 
Court's approval to the damaging findings and decree of 
the Dallas District Court." Had the producers heeded at 
that time this paper's advice, they would have dropped the 
appeal and would have tried to work out with the exhibitor 
leaders a fair trade practices code. But they failed to heed 
it, and now they find themselves faced with a serious 
problem. 

Again, instead of facing the actualities, and giving a chance 
to the trade practices conference to find a fair way of pro- 
tecting every one's interests, they have decided to resort to 
more court proceedings. As evidenced by the majority opin- 
ion, the U. S. Supreme Court gave the questions involved 
in the Interstate case deep study. The business of distribut- 
ing and exhibiting pictures, particularly as it relates to the 
State of Texas, was gone over with a toothcomb. In the 
face of that opinion, it is manifest that the distributors will 
waste their time on a rehearing application, for Mr. Justice 
Stone, who delivered the majority opinion, stated the fol- 
lowing : 

"It taxes credulity to believe that the several distributors 
would, in the circumstances, have accepted and put into 
operation with substantial unanimity such far-reaching 
changes in their business methods without some under- 
standing that all were to join, and we reject as beyond the 
range of probability that it was the result of mere chance. 
* * * 

"While the District Court's finding of an agreement of 
the distributors among themselves is supported by the evi- 
dence, we think that in the circumstances of this case such 
agreement for the imposition of the restrictions upon subse- 
quent-run exhibitors was not a prerequisite to an unlawful 
conspiracy. It was enough that, knowing that concerted 
action was contemplated and invited, the distributors gave 
their adherence to the scheme and participated in it. Each 
distributor was advised that the others were asked to par- 
ticipate; each knew that cooperation was essential to suc- 
cessful operation of the plan. They knew that the plan, if 
carried out, would result in a restraint of commerce, which 
we will presently point out, was unreasonable within the 
meaning of the Sherman Act, and knowing it, all partici- 
pated in the plan. The evidence is persuasive that each 
distributor early became aware that the others had joined. 
With that knowledge they renewed the arrangement and 
carried it into effect for the two successive years. 

"It is elementary that an unlawful conspiracy may be 
and often is formed without simultaneous action or agree- 
ment on the part of the conspirators. * * * Acceptance by 
competitors, without previous agreement, of an invitation to 



participate in a plan, the necessary consequence of which, 
if carried out, is restraint of interstate commerce, is suffi- 
cient to establish an unlawful conspiracy under the Sher- 
man Act. * * * 

"A contract between a copyright owner and one who has 
no copyright, restraining the competitive distribution of 
the copyrighted articles in the open market in order to 
protect the latter from the competition, can no more be 
valid than a like agreement between two copyright owners 
or patentees. * * * In either case if the contract is effective, 
as it was here, competition is suppressed and the possibility 
of its resumption precluded by force of the contract. An 
agreement illegal because it suppresses competition is not 
any less so because the competitive article is copyrighted. 
The fact that the restraint is made easier or more effective 
by making the copyright subservient to the contract does 
not relieve it of illegality." 

The rules set down by the Supreme Court are broad 
enough to apply to situations outside of Texas and to as- 
pects of distribution other than the fixing of minimum 
admission prices for subsequent-run houses, and the pro- 
hibition against double features. It may, in fact, extend to 
every phase of protection and clearance. 

That such a ruling would some day have been made by 
the U. S. Supreme Court has been predicted by Harrison's 
Reports a long time ago. It now makes to the distributors 
the suggestion that they sit down with the exhibitors, as 
business men, to work out for the entire industry a fair 
and equitable program. They should put an end to their 
attempts to hold on to the unfair control of the industry 
they have been having for many years and should endeavor 
to gain the good will of their customers. Unless they do so, 
further restrictions of their control powers are inevitable. 

They are continuing to fight a battle that is already lost 
to them. 



MORE ABOUT NORTH DAKOTA 
REPEAL 

In its February 18 issue, Harrison's Reports quoted the 
leaders of the North Dakota Legislature as having stated 
that the circumstances under which the theatre divorcement 
law had been passed seemed "peculiar," and suggested that 
"the end of the story has not yet been told," — that "the last 
word on the North Dakota divorcement law may not have 
been spoken yet." 

Since that time there have been many repercussions re- 
sulting from the "peculiar" circumstances under which this 
law had been repealed. 

Governor Moses, of North Dakota, has signed the repeal 
measure, thus taking off the statute books of North Dakota 
the divorcement law, making it almost a certainty that the 
United States Supreme Court would be compelled to dis- 
miss the pending appeal from the adjudication of the United 
States Circuit Court of Appeals that the law was constitu- 
tional. 

One of the more significant repercussions is the investi- 
gation by the Department of Justice of the circumstances 
surrounding the repeal. According to Boxoffice, U. S. Gov- 
ernment agents were in Bismark investigating the facts that 
led to the repeal of that law. 

The February 21 issue of Film Daily, too, states the same 
thing ; it says : 

(Continued on last page) 



34 



HARRISON'S REPORTS 



March 4, 1939 



"Secret Service of the Air" with Ronald 
Reagan, John Litel and James Stephenson 

(Warner Bros., March 4; time, 61 min>) 
A pretty good program action melodrama. Although the 
plot is routine and slightly far-fetched, the picture should 
please action fans, for it moves at a fast pace, holding one 
in suspense until the end. One situation, although in keeping 
with the story, may sicken some spectators; it shows an 
aviator, who was smuggling a group of men across the 
border in his plane, opening a trap door and dumping all 
the men out, for he had discovered that one of the passen- 
gers was a secret service agent. The spectator feels admira- 
tion for the hero, because he shows courage and daring in 
the face of danger. The romance is minimized : — 

John Litel, head of the U. S. Secret Service, enlists the 
aid of Ronald Reagan, a commercial aviator, in rounding 
up a gang, who had been smuggling non-citizens into the 
United States, using planes to get their customers across 
the border. As part of the plan, Reagan is compelled to go 
to prison; his cell-mate is one of the gang. Through him, 
Reagan obtains important information. After an attempted 
jail break by Reagan and his cell-mate, they are caught 
and brought back; the cell-mate is led to believe that 
Reagan would be sent to Alcatraz. Instead, he is freed. He 
becomes acquainted with one of the men in the smuggling 
ring, and is able to convince him that he would be a good 
man to have. His work is in danger of being spoiled when 
his former cell-mate, who had escaped, arrives and accuses 
him of being a fraud. Reagan is finally able to get the gang 
leader across the border, placing him in the hands of the 
police. The smuggling ring is thus broken up. 

Raymond Schrock wrote the original screen play, Noel 
Smith directed it, and Bryan Foy produced it. In the cast 
are Edide Foy, Jr., Ila Rhodes, Rosella Towne, Morgan 
Conway, Anthony Averill, and others. 

Unsuitable for children. Class B. 



"Let Us Live" with Henry Fonda, Maureen 
O'Sullivan and Ralph Bellamy 

(Columbia, February 28; time, 68 mitt.) 
A strong but somewhat grim melodrama. Even though it 
holds one in suspense, it is not particularly pleasant enter- 
tainment, for the story is harrowing. Another thing against 
it is the fact that law officials are shown as being heartless 
men, interested in securing convictions more than in getting 
to the bottom of a case ; also the fact that police methods in 
crime detection work are disparaged. The suffering of the 
hero and the heroine touches one, but at the same time it 
is painful to watch; not until the very end, just before the 
hero was to go to the electric chair, is the heroine able to 
obtain the evidence to prove the hero's innocence. The pic- 
ture ends on a bitter note, showing the hero's spirit broken 
by his experience. The direction and acting are good: — 

Fonda, a taxicab driver, accompanies his sweetheart 
(Maureen O'Sullivan) to church ; he waits outside for her. 
While he is waiting, three crooks hold up a motion picture 
house around the corner, killing the guard. Having learned 
that the crooks got away in a cab, the police round up all 
the cab drivers who operated such a cab ; Fonda is one of 
them. They arrest also his roommate (Alan Baxter). The 
theatre employees identify Fonda and Baxter as two of the 
crooks and, despite their pleas of innocence, they are held 
for trial. Miss O'Sullivan's story is disbelieved. The two 
men are tried, convicted, and sentenced to death in the 
electric chair. Miss O'Sullivan works frantically to save 
them. With some new evidence she had found, she finally 
convinces Ralph Bellamy, a police inspector, of the two 
men's innocence. Bellamy, in order to help her, resigns his 
position. Fonda, after having borne up bravely, goes to 
pieces. Not until the day of the electrocution are Miss 
O'Sullivan and Bellamy able to locate the crooks. With the 
help of several policemen, they round them up and find the 
loot. The theatre employees, realizing their mistake, na- 
turally identify the real crooks. Thus Fonda and Baxter 
are released. Fonda leaves the prison a broken man. The 
only one toward whom he acts friendly is Bellamy. 

The plot was adapted from a story by Joseph F. Dinneen. 
Anthony Veiller and Allen Rivkin wrote the screen play, 
John Brahm directed it, and William Perlberg produced it. 
In the cast are Stanley Ridges, Henry Kolker, Ray Walker, 
George Douglas, Peter Lynn, Martin Spellman, and others. 

Not suitable for children. Adult fare. Class B. 



"Everybody's Baby" with Jed Prouty, 
Shirley Deane and Russell Gleason 

(20th Century-Fox, March 24; time, 61 min.) 

This latest picture in the "Jones Family" series is good 
entertainment. The action focuses less on the family and 
more on the problems of the married daughter (Shirley 
Deane) and of her husband (Russell Gleason) after the 
birth of their baby. These problems are treated entirely 
from a comedy angle. Most of the laughter is provoked by 
the methods Miss Deane, who had been taken in by a fake 
child expert (Reginald Denny), insists on employing in the 
care of the child. One of the most comical situations is that 
in which Miss Deane's family, eager to see the child, are 
compelled, before entering the child's room, to put on steri- 
lized gowns and gauze masks. One feels sympathy for Glea- 
son, who is not permitted to hold his own baby, because the 
nurse, who had been sent to them by Denny, claimed it 
would spoil the child. Another comical situation is that in 
which Gleason, who had been drinking to drown his 
troubles, arrives home slightly drunk, thereby having 
enough courage to tell the nurse what he thought of her. 
This so angers his wife that she orders him to leave their 
home. The closing scenes, although slightly far-fetched, are 
comical ; in them Denny is exposed in a manner to embar- 
rass him. Gleason and Miss Deane are reconciled ; and the 
members of the family are happy that at last they could see 
and play with the baby without any interference. 

Hilda Stone and Betty Reinhardt wrote the story, and 
Karen DeWoIf, Robert Chapin, Frances Hyland and Albert 
Ray, the screen play ; Malcolm St. Clair directed it, and 
John Stone produced it. In the cast are Spring Byington, 
Ken Howell, George Ernest, Hattie McDaniel, Florence 
Roberts, and others. 

Suitability, Class A. 



"Let Freedom Ring" with Nelson Eddy, 
Virginia Bruce and Edward Arnold 

(MGM, February 24 ; time, 86 min.) 

Good mass entertainment. It is also a strong box-office 
attraction, for, in spite of the fact that the story is just a 
glorified Western, the players have drawing power. More- 
over, it strikes a patriotic note, which is certain to appeal to 
Americans everywhere. Added to all this, is the further 
attraction of Nelson Eddy's singing, which has been inter- 
polated so well that it fits in with the story and does not 
interfere with the action. Western fans should enjoy the 
horseback riding, fist fights, and the colorful background of 
the old pioneering days. The closing scenes, in addition to 
being exciting, touch one's emotions. Virginia Bruce and 
Nelson Eddy handle the romance effectively. And Charles 
Butterworth and Victor McLaglen provide hearty laughter. 

Lionel Barrymore, western ranch owner, looked forward 
to the return of his son (Eddy) from Harvard law school ; 
he felt that he would be able to stop Edward Arnold, a 
ruthless financier from the east, who had been burning 
down homes and otherwise forcing ranchers to give up their 
property to make way for the new railroad. Virginia Bruce, 
cafe owner, who loved Eddy, was impatient for his return. 
But Eddy shocks every one when, upon his return, he sides 
with Arnold. No one realizes that he was purposely acting 
that way in order to get into Arnold's good graces, and thus 
obtain all the information against him he needed. He se- 
cretly publishes a newspaper, copies of which he distributes 
to the foreign railroad workers whom Arnold had brought 
out west ; but McLaglen, the road gang manager, threatens 
to kill any one who would read a copy. In the meantime, 
Miss Bruce, heartsick at Eddy's actions, promises to marry 
Arnold, even though she despised him. Eddy's activities are 
finally disclosed ; Arnold insists that the Sheriff arrest him. 
But Eddy appeals to the laborers to become true Americans 
and not permit themselves to be bullied by a tyrant. At first, 
his words are ineffective, for the men feared Arnold ; but 
Miss Bruce arouses them when she starts singing "Amer- 
ica," and asks them to join in with her. McLaglen and all 
his men go over to Eddy's side, and force Arnold to leave 
town. Eddy and Miss Bruce are joyfully united. 

Ben Hecht wrote the story and screen play, Jack Conway 
directed it, and Harry Rapf produced it. In the cast are 
Guy Kibbee, H. B. Warner, Raymond Walburn, Dick 
Rich, and others. 

Suitability, Class A. 



March 4, 1939 



HARRISON'S REPORTS 



35 



"The Saint Strikes Back" with George 
Sanders and Wendy Barrie 

(RKO, March 10; time, 64 min.) 
This is a good follow up to '"The Saint in New York." 
It is an engrossing program gangster melodrama, with a 
mystifying plot, and plentiful exciting action. George San- 
ders, who replaced Louis Hayward as "The Saint," is con- 
vincing in the part of the self-appointed detective who, 
single-handed, outwits a gang of crooks and uncovers the 
identity of the gang leader. The methods Sanders employs 
are at times the cause for laughter and, at other times, for 
excitement. There is just a hint of romance between San- 
ders and the girl he tries to protect, but in the end they part. 

Wendy Barrie, who had entered a life of petty crime in 
order to find out, if possible, who had framed her father, a 
former police official, on a robbery charge, the disgrace of 
which had caused his death, is annoyed when Sanders in- 
terferes with her plans. She refuses to believe that he 
wanted to help her prove her father's innocence by finding 
out who the leader of the gang was, and thus break up a 
gang of criminals who had been operating with a free hand. 
But in time she is convinced of the fact, and so she joins 
forces with him. Their investigations lead them to a 
wealthy philanthropist, who kills himself when he realizes 
that he had been trapped. In the meantime, Jonathan Hale, 
a New York police inspector, who believed Sanders him- 
self to be guilty of crimes and, therefore, wanted to arrest 
him, is constantly outwitted by Sanders. Eventually San- 
ders proves Miss Barrie's father's innocence, and discloses 
that the gang leader was none other than Neil Hamilton, 
who was supposed to be Miss Barrie's intimate friend ; he 
proves also that Hamilton had been assisted by Jerome 
Cowan, a police official. With the case finished, Sanders 
bids Miss Barrie goodbye, even though he was drawn to 
her, for he was the type of man who wanted to be free to 
continue his work without any hindrance. 

Leslie Charteris wrote the story, and John Twist, the 
screen play ; John Farrow directed it, and Robert Sisk 
produced it. In the cast are Barry Fitzgerald, Robert Elli- 
ott, Russell Hopton, Edward Gargan, and others. 

The activities of the crooks make it unsuitable for chil- 
dren. Class B. 

"Forged Passport" with Paul Kelly, 
June Lang and Lyle Talbot 

{Republic, March 24; time, 61 min.) 
Just a moderately entertaining program melodrama. The 
plot is developed without much excitement, most of the 
thrills being concentrated in the closing scenes. Some audi- 
ences may resent the comments made by a few characters 
with reference to the lack of intelligence on the part of 
U. S. Immigration officials at the Mexican border, for, with 
the exception of the hero, the others are presented as being 
somewhat stupid. Billy Gilbert gives his usual good per- 
formance, provoking laughter by his actions. A few musical 
numbers are presented in an entertaining way : — 

Paul Kelly, a member of the U. S. Immigration Patrol 
at the Mexican border, who is known for his hot temper, is 
warned by the commanding officer to control his impulse to 
fight. Kelly uncovers a smuggling plot, in which Lyle 
Talbot, cafe owner, had had a hand, and Talbot warns him 
to keep out of his affairs. Kelly receives a telephone call, 
presumably from Billy Gilbert, a cafe owner to whom he 
was indebted, threatening to expose him unless he would 
bring the money over to his cafe immediately. Kelly sends 
over a new recruit (Maurice Murphy) to reason with Gil- 
bert. But it suddenly dawns upon him that it might be a 
trap. And he was right, but by the time he arrives at the 
cafe Murphy is dead, shot by some one who had been wait- 
ing for Kelly. After admitting his part in the affair, Kelly 
resigns. He opens a gasoline station in partnership with 
Gilbert, whose cafe had been closed. By pretending to 
smuggle men across the border, Kelly comes to Talbot's 
attention ; they make a deal to work as partners. In this way 
Kelly is able to uncover the activities of the gang ; he him- 
self is shocked to learn that the leader was a respected man 
with whom he had been friendly. His work finished, Kelly 
marries June Lang, a cafe entertainer. 

James Webb and Lee Loeb wrote the story, and Franklin 
Coen and Lee Loeb, the screen play ; John Auer directed 
and produced it. In the cast are Cliff Nazarro, Christian 
Rub, John Hamilton, Dewey Robinson, and others. 

The murder and smuggling make it unsuitable for chil- 
dren. Class B. 



"Prison Without Bars" with Edna Best 

(London Films-United Artists, March IS; time, 77 min.) 

A pretty gripping prison melodrama. But, before it will 
do business in the United States, it will have to be exploited, 
for the players are unknown here. Although the plot is not 
novel, the performances are so good that, even though the 
action at times drags, one is interested in the various char- 
acters, following their actions intently. The spectator sym- 
pathizes particularly with the heroine, who had been im- 
prisoned on a framed charge ; her softening under the influ- 
ence of the new matron, who treated her with kindness, 
touches one. The love interest, although logical, is in some 
respects unappealing, for it brings unhappiness to a char- 
acter for whom one feels the deepest admiration. There is 
very little comic relief. The action takes place in a prison 
for women located at the outskirts of Paris : — 

Tortured by the cruel methods employed by Martita 
Hunt, head of a prison for women, the inmates are rebel- 
lious. Corinne Luchaire, a young girl of charm, who had 
been imprisoned on a framed charge, tries to escape on a 
few occasions but she is caught and brought back each time. 
The government officials, having heard of Miss Hunt's un- 
pleasant methods, send Edna Best to replace her as head of 
the institution. Miss Hunt stays on as an assistant. Miss 
Best is happy to be there, for, unknown to any one, the 
prison doctor (Barry K. Barnes) was her sweetheart. 
Much to Miss Hunt's disgust, Miss Best changes things 
considerably ; she takes Miss Luchaire under her wing and 
gradually softens her. Having learned that Miss Luchaire 
liked nursing, she assigns her to work with Barnes. Barnes, 
disappointed because Miss Best would not marry him im- 
mediately, turns his affections to Miss Luchaire ; they fall 
madly in love with each other. One of the inmates finds it 
out and proceeds to blackmail Miss Luchaire. But the truth 
finally comes out. Miss Luchaire is heartbroken when she 
learns that Miss Best loved Barnes. But Miss Best, who 
had won a parole for the girl, insists that she leave and join 
Barnes, who was going to India. Miss Best, with tears in 
her eyes, watches the girl go, feeling that she herself was 
more of a prisoner than the inmates. 

Arthur Wimperis wrote the scenario ; Brian D. Hurst 
directed it, and Alexander Korda produced it, with Irving 
Asher, associate producer. 

Not suitable for children. Adult fare. Class B. 



"Code of the Streets" with Harry Carey 
and Frankie Thomas 

(Universal, May 5 ; time, 69 min.) 

A good program melodrama. In spite of the fact that the 
story is somewhat far-fetched, it holds one's attention well, 
for the action is fast and at times pretty exciting. "The 
Little Tough Guys," headed this time by James McCallion, 
give good performances, provoking laughter by their tough- 
ness and by the tricks they play. In this picture, how- 
ever, they concentrate more on drama than on comedy. One 
feels sympathy for McCallion, whose brother had been 
framed on a murder charge. Harry Carey, too, wins one's 
sympathy by his efforts to help the accused man. There is 
no love interest : — 

Paul Fix, a victim of his slum environment, who had 
wandered into a life of petty crime, is arrested for murder 
on a charge framed by the real murderer. Carey, the detec- 
tive who had arrested Fix, feels certain that he was inno- 
cent ; but Fix is tried, convicted, and sentenced to the death 
penalty. When Carey tells the District Attorney how he 
felt about the case, he is demoted to the rank of an ordinary 
policeman. His young son (Frankie Thomas), desirous of 
helping his father, goes down to the slum district where Fix 
had lived, and becomes acquainted with his young brother 
(McCallion) and his gang. They are suspicious of Thomas 
until he tells them that he wanted to help Fix. But when 
they learn he was Carey's son, they beat him up and throw 
him out of the gang. When they find out about Carey's de- 
motion they regret their act and take Thomas back. The 
boys discover the identity of the real criminal and, by threats 
of torture, force him to confess. Carey arrives in time to 
make the arrest. He is reinstated, and Fix is released. 
Thomas is considered by the gang a hero. 

Arthur T. Horman wrote the original screen play ; Har- 
old Young directed it. and Hurt Kellv produced it. In the 
cast are Leon Ames, Marc Lawrance, I£l Hrendel. Juanita 
Qtllgley, and others. 

Suitability, Class A. 



36 



HARRISON'S REPORTS 



March 4, 1939 



"Federal Bureau investigators were on the ground prob- 
ing the circumstances under which the act was adopted. The 
interest of the Federal government is tied up with its anti- 
trust suit against the major distributors in New York, plus 
the fact that Nortli Dakota was the first state to adopt an 
act which prohibited display of pictures by film owners or 
distributors within its borders." 

The same issue of this paper, in informing the industry of 
the interest the Department of Justice has taken in the case 
to the extent of calling up on the telephone Governor Moses 
to make the position of the Department known, cpjotes a 
member of the staff of the Attorney General as follows : 

"We, at the Department, do not feel the Federal Govern- 
ment has a right to do that [to ask the Governor to delay 
his signature to give the U. S. Supreme Court a chance to 
act]. We merely stated the fact that the Supreme Court 
was sitting in the case and that a repeal at this time would 
be a tacit break for us, but did not ask him to act one way 
or the other." 

Explanations intended by Governor Moses to serve as a 
justification for his signing the repeal bill are coming in: 
Film Daily of February 23, states the following : 

"Reliable sources indicated that the repeal was the result 
of retaliation measures by the present administration in 
North Dakota, aimed at former Governor Lang's regime. 
It was said that Governor Moses' administration sought to 
repeal many of the laws passed by the previous regime and 
that the divorcement law was one of them." 

If tli is purported explanation represents the only motive 
for the passage of the divorcement bill, why should the 
leaders of the present North Dakota Legislature have said 
that the bill had been passed under "peculiar" circum- 
stances, and that the legislators had voted for the bill 
under a misapprehension, with no idea that the divorcement 
act was involved ? If the present regime had voted in retali- 
ation against its predecessor, there certainly would have 
been no "misapprehension" or "misunderstanding" as to 
the nature of their actions. 

In the same issue of the Film Daily, Governor Moses is 
reported as having said, when he signed the repeal bill : 
"Since this law already cost $2,000 in taxpayers' money, 
and may cost several thousand more, I can see no apparent 
reason or benefit to the state for further expenditures along 
this line. While this may inconvenience the federal govern- 
ment, it will not end their case, so I sign this bill after care- 
ful study." 

The purported reason of the Governor, too, seems pecu- 
liar. He sets the cost of the divorcement law to the State 
of North Dakota at $2,000, which amount would include all 
the expenses connected with the law from the time of its 
introduction to the Legislature as a bill, to its present status 
in the U. S. Supreme Court, where its constitutionality was 
to have been determined. Certainly, if the cost to date had 
been only $2,000, the additional cost to conclude the test of 
the law's constitutionality, a matter only of appearing be- 
fore the Court to argue the case, should have been but a 
small fraction of $2,000, and not, as the Governor says, 
"several thousands more." 

It is significant also that, although the Governor men- 
tions the possible inconvenience to the federal government, 
he fails to mention the embarrassment and the resentment of 
the Legislature, which was bound to result from the Gov- 
ernor's having made their mistake irrevocable. 

After all, the situation was, in substance, that the Legis- 
lature had passed an act through a mistaken idea of its 
nature and purpose ; the Legislators wanted to rectify their 
mistake, but the Governor, by signing the bill, made this 
impossible. 

And so, as predicted by Harrison's Reports, words are 
being spoken about the North Dakota repeal measure, but 
it seems as if much more is yet to come. 



EXAGGERATED ADVERTISING 

The February 16 issue of Motion Picture Herald contains 
a four-page insert advertising Paramount films. 

The first page is devoted to advertising "One-Third of a 
Nation," the picture that wasn't produced by Paramount 
but is released by this company. 

The advertisement consists of the reproduction of a still, 



taken on the night of the opening of the picture, with the 
following wording : 

"Crowds jam Broadway as Paramount's ' . . . one third of 
a nation . . . ' starts off world premiere at popular prices at 
New York Rivoli Theatre." 

Those who will examine the reproduction carefully will 
see two significant things: few persons seem to be buying 
tickets, for the faces of the people on either side of the box 
office are turned outward, evidently watching either the 
camera or the arrival of some celebrities ; and some people 
are holding umbrellas over their heads, indicating plainly 
that it was raining, and that they and others had gone under 
the marquee presumably to avoid the rain. 

At the premiere showing of a picture, large numbers of 
curious people gather in front of the theatre to watch the 
celebrities going in. 

The still Paramount took and reproduced on the trade- 
paper pages had two advantages : it was taken on the open- 
ing night of the picture, and it was raining. 

Incidentally, the picture "One-Third of a Nation" played 
only one week. 

There was a time when a statement from Paramount 
meant something — an exhibitor could rely on it. Times 
haves changed, however, if Paramount resorts to an adver- 
tising expedient such as described, in order to lead the ex- 
hibitors to believe that certain of its pictures draw when 
they really should be tucked away on the shelves of a 
film vault. 



WHAT ONE OF THE SKOURAS 
BROTHERS THINKS OF DARRYL 
ZANUCK'S MOVE 

Mr. Spyros Skouras, President of National Theatres,, 
had this to say about Mr. Zanuck's action of taking Tyrone 
Power off radio : 

"I am greatly in favor of Mr. Zanuck's action. I only 
hope the movement will spread. There are entirely too 
many picture stars appearing on the air at the present time. 
Theatres are badly hit, especially on Sunday, the day that 
most theatres depend upon for 40% to 50% of their week's 
gross. It is high time that the studios realize that the ex- 
hibitors, their customers, are the chief sufferers of the 
avalanche of film players on the air." 

Of course, the withdrawal of one motion picture star 
from the large number of radio programs employing almost 
every motion picture star of prominence can have little 
effect in remedying the evil against which Mr. Zanuck's 
action was directed. This evil can be remedied only by the 
withdrawal from radio programs of every important motion 
picture star, for so long as these stars remain on the air 
they will constitute the greatest competition with the thea- 
tres, the very medium through which the stars had origi- 
nally become popular ; and should they lose their popularity 
through too frequent appearances on the radio they will 
find that the theatres have become powerless to help them 
regain it. 

The movement to withdraw movie stars from the radio, 
now r gathering momentum, will, if carried out, prove bene- 
ficial, not only to the producers and to the exhibitors, but 
also to the stars themselves. 



"AMEN" SAY WE 

The following is copied from the February 18th issue of 
Welford Beaton's Hollywood Spectator: 

"Writing about film conditions in England, the editor of 
Film Weekly, London, makes some remarks which can be 
applied with equal pertinence to Hollywood : 'Now, more 
than ever, this country needs producers who can realize that 
films are made out of something more than a banker's note 
with a string of noughts on it. Anybody can make a bad 
film with a lot of money. Nobody can make a good film 
even without a lot of brains.' I might extend the remarks 
by stating that nobody with a lot of brains can make a good 
film even with a lot of money when he is under the domina- 
tion of someone who lacks a lot of brains." 

The heading of this editorial is, "SAYING A MOUTH- 
FUL." The editor could not have chosen better words to- 
express this universal truth. 



Entered as second-class matter January 4, 1921, at the post office at New York, New York, under the act of March 2, 1879. 



Harrison's Reports 

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.soc a i^opy Columns, if It is to Benefit the Exhibitor. 

A REVIEWING SERVICE FREE FROM THE INFLUENCE OF FILM ADVERTISING 

Vol. XXI SATURDAY, MARCH 11, 1939 No. 10 



IMPORTANT DETAILS OF THE 
DALLAS CASE 

Some exhibitors have written me asking me to inform 
them in which way the Federal Government's victory in the 
Dallas case can apply to their individual situations. 

Since I am not a lawyer, I cannot advise them on the 
subject. Nor do I feel that a lawyer's opinion will be an 
infallible guide, for, to begin with, the Government's vic- 
tory, technically, applies only to theatres in the jurisdiction 
of the District Court for the Northern District of Texas. 
Then, again, it relates to a conspiracy covering the fixing 
of minimum admission prices, as well as the prohibition 
against double-features in subsequent-run houses ; and it is 
difficult to prove conspiracy. On top of this, it will be for 
the court to say, in each case that may be brought by an 
exhibitor, whether the facts come within the ruling of the 
U. S. Supreme Court. 

I feel, however, that a restatement of the facts on which 
the Supreme Court based its decision in that case will give 
a definite inkling as to the rights, not only of these ex- 
hibitors, but also of all others. For this reason, I am giving 
the most important of such facts : 

On July 11, 1934, Mr. R. J. O'Donnell, of Interstate Cir- 
cuit, Inc., and Texas Consolidated Theatres, sent the fol- 
lowing letter to the Paramount, Warner Bros., RKO, and 
to other distributor branch managers : 

"Gentlemen : 

"On April 25th, the writer notified you that in purchasing 
product for the coining season 34-35, it would be necessary 
for all distributors to take into consideration in the sale of 
subsequent runs that Interstate Circuit, Inc., will not agree 
to purchase product to be exhibited in its 'A' theatres at a 
price of 40c or more for night admission, unless distribu- 
tors agree that in selling their product to subsequent runs, 
that this 'A' product will never be exhibited at any time or 
in any theatre at a smaller admission price than 25c for 
adults in the evening. 

"In addition to this price restriction, we also request that 
on 'A' pictures which are exhibited at a night admission 
price of 40c or more — they shall never be exhibited in con- 
junction with another feature picture under the so-called 
policy of double-features. 

"At this time the writer desires to again remind you of 
these restrictions due to the fact that there may be some 
delay in consummating all our feature film deals for the 
coming season, and it is imperative that in your negotia- 
tions that you afford us this clearance. 

"In the event that a distributor sees fit to sell his product 
to subsequent runs in violation of this request, it definitely 
means that we cannot negotiate for his product to be ex- 
hibited in our 'A' theatres at top admission prices. 

"We naturally, in purchasing subsequent runs from the 
distributors in certain of our cities, must necessarily elimi- 
nate double featuring and maintain the maximum 25c ad- 
mission price, which we are willing to do. 

"Right at this time the writer wishes to call your atten- 
tion to the Rio Grande Valley situation. We must insist 
that all pictures exhibited in our 'A' theatres at a maximum 
night admission price of 35c must also be restricted to sub- 
sequent runs in the Valley at 25c. Regardless of the number 
of days which may intervene, we feel that in exploiting and 
selling the distributors' product, that subsequent runs should 
be restricted to at least a 25c admission scale. 



"The writer will appreciate your acknowledging your 
complete understanding of this letter." 

At that time most of the independent theatres charged 
less than twenty-five cents for admission, and showed two 
features on the same bill. 

Since the branch managers did not have the authority to 
accept such terms, they referred the demands to their 
respective home offices. 

There followed conferences between Messrs. Hoblitzelle 
and O'Donnell and the branch managers, in which took 
part also home office executives, the outcome being an 
agreement on the part of the distributors to grant, with one 
or two exceptions, the O'Donnell demands. 

Though only two distributors put these concessions in 
their contracts, at the trial, which resulted from the U. S. 
Government's suit, it was established that all the distribu- 
tors carried these demands out during the 1934-35 season. 

The court, as you already know by this time from what 
has been said, not only in Harrison's Reports but also in 
other industry journals, concluded that the agreement of 
the distributors with each other, and between them and 
Interstate as well as Consolidated, constituted a combina- 
tion and conspiracy in restraint of interstate commerce, in 
violation of the Sherman Act. Consequently the Dallas 
District Court restrained the defendants from enforcing 
these restrictions upon subsequent-run exhibitors. This 
restraint, the U. S. Supreme Court, to which the case was 
appealed, upheld. 

In their appeal, the distributors asserted that the Dis- 
trict Court's findings of agreements and conspiracy among 
them to impose the aforementioned restrictions were not 
supported by the court's subsidiary findings and by the 
evidence ; that the contracts between Interstate and Con- 
solidated on the one hand, and the distributors on the other, 
were within the protection of the Copyright Act, and for 
that reason they were not violations of the Sherman Act ; 
and that the restrictions complained of by the Government 
did not restrain unreasonably interstate commerce within 
the provisions of the Sherman Act. But the majority of the 
U. S. Supreme Court rejected these excuses and found 
against the defendants. "The trial court," said the opinion 
in one part, "interpreting the letter in the light of the whole 
evidence, which showed unmistakably that one purpose of 
both demands was to protect the first-run houses from com- 
petition of subsequent-run houses, concluded that the sub- 
stance of the proposals in one case as in the other was that 
the restrictions upon the subsequent-run theatres were to 
be imposed only in the same city in which the first run 
occurred. ..." 

In regards to the producers' assertion as to the protection 
afforded by the copyright, a great deal of what the Supreme 
Court said was printed in last week's Harrison's Reports. 
Consequently, no further comment is necessary. 

If the restrictions imposed upon any one of you are in 
substance similar to those that were imposed upon the 
independent exhibitors within the jurisdiction of the Dallas 
District Court, perhaps you have a cause for complaint. 
But instead of resorting to court proceedings at once, why 
not take the matter up with the home offices of the com- 
panies with which you are doing business, to see whether 
your complaint can be looked into and justice done to you? 
A considerably different spirit is prevailing among the dis- 
tributors now, and you might be able to have the injustice 
(Continued on last page) 



38 



HARRISON'S REPORTS 



March 11, 1939 



"The Adventures of Jane Arden" with 
Rosella Towne, William Gargan 
and James Stephenson 

(Warner Bros., March 18; time, 58 mitt.) 
A {air program melodrama. It should please action fans, 
for the pace is fast and at times the action is exciting. Ac- 
cording to the Warner home office, this is the first in a 
series of pictures to be produced around the character of 
"Jane Arden." Better stories will have to be used if the 
producers hope to build it into popular fare; this one lacks 
plausibility. The performances are, however, good ; Rosella 
Towne makes an attractive "Jane Arden" and, with proper 
handling, may become quite popular. Dennie Moore is 
amusing as the heroine's nitwit friend. The romance is just 
hinted at : — 

When a society girl is found murdered, Rosella Towne, a 
newspaper reporter, forms her own theories about the case. 
Knowing that the victim had been impoverished, Miss 
Towne realizes that she must have been connected with a 
jewel smuggling ring in order to make enough money to 
keep up appearances. She visits the jeweler (Pierre Watkin) 
whom she suspected, offering to sell him stolen jewelry. 
After a conference with his partner (James Stephenson), 
Watkin offers Miss Towne a proposition to work with 
them on a smuggling job, which she naturally accepts, 
hoping thereby to trap them. Following instructions, she 
sets sail for Bermuda, accompanied by Stephenson and his 
girl friend (Peggy Shannon). In the meantime, Watkin, 
learning who Miss Towne really was, cables the news to 
Stephenson. William Gargan, the managing editor of Miss 
Towne's newspaper, escapes from a trap set for him by 
Watkin, and flics to Miss Towne's help, after first super- 
vising Watkin's arrest. Watkin admits that Stephenson had 
killed the society girl. Stephenson is captured. Miss Towne 
and Gargan, who were in love with each other, set sail for 
home. 

Lawrence Kimble, Charles Curran and Vincent Sherman 
wrote the original screen play, Terry Morse directed it, 
and Mark Hellinger produced it. In the cast are Benny 
Rubin and Edgar Edwards. 

Not for children. Suitability, Class B. 



"Blackwell's Island" with John Garfield, 
Rosemary Lane and Stanley Fields 

(First National, March 25; time, 70 mitt.) 

A good gangster-prison comedy-melodrama. Although 
John Garfield is the star and gives a good performance, the 
outstanding part is played by Stanley Fields, as a tough 
gangster given to practical joking. He gives an excellent 
performance, alternating between viciousness and foolish- 
ness realistically. It seems as if the part dealing with the 
corrupt prison system was based on the scandal that broke 
a few years ago regarding corruption on Blackwell's Island, 
when it was under the control of a vicious gangster. These 
scenes are both dramatic and amusing. The romance is 
mildly pleasant : — 

Garfield, a newspaper reporter, writes disparaging arti- 
cles about Stanley Fields, a notorious racketeer, thereby 
incurring his enmity. One of Fields' rackets was a "protec- 
tive" association for fishermen. When one of the men re- 
fused to join they beat him up, and later at the hospital 
warn him that if he should testify they would kill him ; 
they beat up also a policeman (Dick Purcell), because he 
tried to help him. At the trial, Purcell persuades the man 
he had protected to testify. This brings about a conviction 
for Fields and two of his men. with a sentence of six months 
at Blackwell's Island. Fields, because of his political pull, 
runs the prison, living in luxury. He forces prisoners to 
pay him a substantial sum each week for food and privi- 
leges. Fields leaves the prison for nightly jaunts and, on 
one of these occasions, kills Purcell. Garfield, who was in 
love with Purcell's sister (Rosemary Lane), decides to 
investigate. He brings about his own arrest, and is sent to 
the prison. There he finds out what was actually going on. 
Fields plans to kill him, but Garfield manages to escape. 
With the evidence he had, Garfield convinces Victor Jory, 
new prison superintendent, that something should be done. 
They raid the prison and restore order. Fields is tried and 
convicted on a murder charge ; he is sent to a federal prison 
for life. 

Crane Wilbur and Lee Katz wrote the story, and Crane 
Wilbur, the screen play; William McGann directed it, and 
Bryan Foy produced it. In the cast are Morgan Conway, 
Peggy Shannon, Lottie Williams, Charles Foy, and others. 

Unsuitable for children. Adult fare. Class B. 



"Blondie Meets the Boss" with Penny 
Singleton and Arthur Lake 

(Columbia, March 8; time, 74 min.) 

Moderately amusing family fare. Compared to the first 
picture in the "Blondie" series, this one rates somewhat 
below the other in entertainment value. The pace is slow, 
actually draggy in spots; and some of the situations are 
forced to provoke laughter. What was comical in the first 
picture, seems slightly silly by repetition. The performances 
are good, entirely in keeping with the characters portrayed. 
Both the hero and the heroine occasionally act like nitwits, 
but one feels sympathy for them. One of the most comical 
situations is that in which the hero accidentally wins a 
jitterbug contest : — 

Dagwood (Arthur Lake) and his wife Blondie (Penny 
Singleton) plan to leave on a vacation with Baby Dump- 
ling (Larry Simms). When Mr. Dithers, his employer 
(Jonathan Hale) informs him that he would have to post- 
pone his vacation, Dagwood is annoyed and resigns. Blon- 
die goes to see Mr. Dithers to ask him to take Dagwood 
back ; instead of doing that, he engages Blondie to take her 
husband's place. This so enrages Dagwood that he goes off 
•on a fishing trip with a friend. But when two girls join the 
party, Dagwood leaves in haste. He and his wife are recon- 
ciled. But trouble starts again when Blondie finds a picture 
of Dagwood with one of the girls ; she decides to leave him. 
In the meantime, she neglects to take care of the deal which 
Mr. Dithers had left in her care. But this works out for the 
best; Mr. Dithers, upon his return, is overjoyed to learn 
that she had not bought the property he had asked her to, 
for as it turned out the plans for an airport on that prop- 
erty had been abandoned. Dithers is so happy that he re- 
engages Dagwood. Everything is adjusted. 

Kay Van Riper and Richard Flournoy wrote the story, 
and Richard Flournoy, the screen play ; Frank R. Strayer 
directed it, and Robert Sparks produced it. In the cast are 
Daisy the dog, Dorothy Moore, Don Beddoe, Inez Court- 
ney, Skinnay Ennis and his band, and others. 

Suitability, Class A. 



"Mystery Plane" with John Trent, Marjorie 
Reynolds and Milburn Stone 

(Monogram, March 8; time, 60 min.) 

A good melodrama, with plentiful exciting action. It is 
the first in a series of pictures to be made from the 
popular cartoon strip called "Tailspin Tommy." Consider- 
ing the fact that all the children (and even adults) 
read this strip daily, there should be a ready-made audience 
eager to see it. They will not be disappointed, for, as in the 
cartoon strip, "Tailspin Tommy" is presented, not only as a 
daring pilot, but also as a courageous man. The closing 
scenes, in addition to being thrilling, touch one's emotions 
because of the sacrifice made by a character known as 
"Buddy" (Pete George Lynn), who, incidentally, gives an 
excellent performance. The romance and comedy are pleas- 
ant, without interfering with the action : — 

Tommy, at the age of ten, worships Captain Brandy, 
famous stunt flyer, whose war career he had followed 
closely. He is overjoyed when, at a fair, he personally 
meets the famous flyer. Fifteen years later, Tommy (John 
Trent) is a famous stunt flyer. Working with him on his 
new bombing invention are his two childhood pals, Skeeter 
(Milburn Stone) and Betty Lou (Marjorie Reynolds) ; 
they are financed and managed by Paul (Jason Robards). 
Their first test for the benefit of Army officials is success- 
ful. But this test had been seen by Winslow (Lucien Little- 
field), an international agent and gangster. Through a 
trick, he kidnaps Tommy, Skeeter, and Betty Lou, threat- 
ening them with death unless they gave him the plans for 
the new bomber. Tommy is shocked to find that Brandy, 
who had taken to drink, was one of the gang. Brandy is 
heartbroken at the fact that he was unable to do anything to 
help Tommy. Finally they escape, and start off in a plane 
owned by Winslow. Winslow pursues them, compelling 
Brandy to fly the pursuit plane. But Brandy, instead of fol- 
lowing orders, plunges the plane into the sea, bringing 
death to the gang and to himself. Tommy's plans are ac- 
cepted by the Army. 

Hal Forest wrote the story, and Paul Schofield and 
Joseph West, the screen play ; George Waggner directed it, 
and Paul Malvern produced it. In the cast are Polly Arm 
Young, John Peters, Betsy Gay, and others. 

Suitability, Class A. 



March 11, 1939 



HARRISON'S REPORTS 



39 



"I Was a Convict" with Barton MacLane 
and Beverly Roberts 

(Republic, March 6 ; time, 63 min.) 

Just a mildly entertaining program comedy-melodrama. 
The story, which is a hodge-podge of unbelievable situa- 
tions, fails to hold one's interest. For one thing, the leading 
characters, ex-convicts, do little to win one's sympathy. The 
hero, for instance, constantly refers to the fact that he was 
waiting for his chance to steal a large sum of money from 
his former cell-mate, a wealthy man, who had gone to 
prison on a charge of income tax evasion, and who, when 
released with the hero, had given him a responsible posi- 
tion in his firm. Because of this, the spectator naturally 
feels little sympathy for the hero. It is not until the end that 
he decides that honesty is the best policy, but by that time 
one does not care what happens to him. The melodramatic 
situations are the result of the actions of two escaped con- 
victs, who try to force the hero to open his employer's safe, 
to give them the $98,000 payroll money. Infuriated when 
the hero outwits them, they later kidnap the employer and 
hold him for ransom. The hero, who by this time was 
touched by the faith his employer had shown in him, risks 
his life to save him. Not only does the hero win a promo- 
tion, thus outwitting the scheming general manager who had 
tried to ruin his employer, but also the hand of his em- 
ployer's daughter, who had fallen in love with him. 

Robert D. Andrews wrote the story, and Ben Markson 
and Robert D. Andrews, the screen play ; Aubrey Scotto 
directed it, and Herman Schlom produced it. In the cast 
are Clarence Kolb, Janet Beecher, Horace MacMahon, Ben 
Welden, and others. 

Not for children. Class B. 



"Oklahoma Kid" with James Cagney, 
Rosemary Lane and Humphrey Bogart 

(Warner Bros., March 11 ; time, 80 min.) 

Because of the present popularity of outdoor melodramas 
and of James Cagney's drawing power, this should do very 
good business at the box-office. As to its entertainment 
value, it is good as far as Westerns go ; it offers, however, 
nothing startling in the way of novelty of plot or of action, 
relying for its "punch" on the usual ingredients that are 
typical of westerns, — that is, lawlessness, fast horseback 
riding, and thrilling fist fights. One situation, although used 
before ("Cimarron"), is still an exciting thing to see; it 
shows the settlers racing in their covered wagons or on 
horseback to claim land set aside by the government for 
new settlers. In spite of the fact that Cagney gives a good 
performance, he somehow seems out of place in the part of 
the western bad man ; he lacks fire, particularly in the emo- 
tional scenes. The romance is played down: — 

Cagney, who had run away from home at an early age 
because he wanted to live a free and easy life, finds his 
father (Hugh Sothern) and brother (Harvey Stephens) 
heading a group of settlers, who were waiting for the 
government's signal to race towards new land which they 
could claim; they do not acknowledge their relationship. 
He becomes acquainted with Rosemary Lane, daughter of 
a Judge (Donald Crisp), who, too, was going to the new 
land. Humphrey Bogart and his gang sneak over to the 
new land, staking their claims before the legitimate settlers 
could arrive. In order to preserve peace, Sothern is com- 
pelled to give Bogart written permission to open saloons 
for gambling and drinking. Cagney arrives in town ; when 
he starts spending new silver dollars, Bogart recognizes it 
as the money he and his gang had stolen from the govern- 
ment wagon, but which Cagney had in turn stolen from 
them. After a gun fight, Cagney escapes. Bogart, tired of 
Sothern's interference in his business, frames him on a mur- 
der charge. Cagney breaks into the jail, begging his father 
to escape, but he refuses. The news leaks out about Cag- 
ney's attempt and about his relationship with the prisoner, 
and Bogart uses that as a means of stirring up the crowd 
to a frenzy. As a result, they hang Sothern. Cagney sets 
out to get the five men responsible for it. He kills three, 
brings back the fourth a prisoner, and then goes after 
Bogart. Stephens rushes to his asistancc ; but Bogart shoots 
him. Although wounded, Stephens kills Bogart and then 
dies. Cagney decides to settle down, with Miss Lane as 
his wife. 

Edward E. Paramore and Wally Klein wrote the story, 
and Warren Duff, Robert Buckner, and Edward E. Para- 
more, the screen play; Lloyd Bacon directed it. In the cast 
are Charles Middleton, Edward Pawlcy, Ward Bond, and 
others. 

The killings and robberies make it unsuitable for chil- 
dren. Class B. 



"The Star Reporter" with Warren Hull 
and Marsha Hunt 

(Monogram, February 22; time, 62 min.) 

A fair program newspaper-racketeer melodrama. The 
story is interesting, holding one in fair suspense. It is 
helped along by competent direction and good acting. The 
closing scenes are the most exciting ; there the criminals 
are rounded up. The romance is appealing : — 

Wallis Clark, district attorney, pledges himself to fight 
crime. He obtains a written confession from Morgan Wal- 
lace, a criminal, admitting that he had killed a man. Warren 
Hull, newspaper publisher engaged to Clark's daughter 
(Marsha Hunt), promises to work with him. But when the 
district attorney learns from Hull's mother (Virginia 
Howell) that Wallace had been her first husband, and, un- 
known to any one, the father of Hull, he decides to go easy, 
knowing that Wallace would use the information to dis- 
grace Hull. Hull, not knowing the reason for Clark's sud- 
den change, starts blasting him in his newspaper. In the 
meantime, another criminal steals the confession from the 
District Attorney, using it as a means of blackmail. But 
Wallace, who had been released on bail, gets the confession, 
killing a man while doing it. Miss Hunt, who, too, had tried 
to obtain the confession, is arrested for the murder. Hull 
learns the truth ; he goes to Wallace and tells him of their 
relationship. This softens Wallace. He signs another con- 
fession, clearing Miss Hunt, and listing the names of all 
the gangsters and the crimes they had committed. In a gun 
fight with a crooked lawyer who tried to get the confession, 
Wallace is killed. The police arrive in time to arrest the 
lawyer and to save Hull. Hull and Miss Hunt marry. 

John T. Neville wrote the original screen play ; Howard 
Bretherton directed it, and E. B. Derr produced it. In the 
cast are Clay Clement, Paul Fix, and others. 

Unsuitable for children. Class B. 



"Spirit of Culver" with Jackie Cooper 
and Freddie Bartholomew 

(Universal, March 10 ; time, 90 min.) 

Good entertainment. It is a remake of "Tom Brown at 
Culver," produced by Universal in 1932 ; and. as in the first 
picture, it has the ingredients for mass appeal. Human in- 
terest is awakened by the sympathy one feels for the young 
hero. Particularly appealing are his actions towards the 
end, when he shows willingness to give up comfort and 
schooling in order to help his father. The situation in which 
father and son first meet, the relationship being unknown 
to the son, touches one's emotions. There is plentiful com- 
edy ; most of the laughter is provoked by the actions of the 
young boys at the military academy. Except for a puppy 
love affair involving Freddie Bartholomew, which is quite 
amusing, there is no romance : — 

Penniless and embittered by his inability to obtain work, 
his only possession being a Congressional Medal of Honor 
his mother had received when his father had died in France 
during the war, Jackie Cooner is compelled to stand on line 
with other boys for free food donated by the American 
Legion. Andy Devine. the legionnaire in charge of the 
kitchen, takes a liking to him and gives him a job as assist- 
ant dishwasher. When Devine learns that Cooper's father 
had l>ecn the surgeon who had operated on him in France, 
he is happy that he had helped him. The American Legion 
decides to send Cooper to Culver Military Academy. Coop- 
er's attitude, however, does not change ; he goes to the 
school merely because it meant he could have three meals 
a day. But his association with the boys, in particular with 
Freddie Bartholomew, changes him, and in a short time he 
comes to love the life. Devine is shocked one day to find 
that Cooper's father (Henry Hull) was alive. Hull tells 
him that, suffering from shell-shock, he had deserted and 
had wandered around the world ever since. Devine puts 
him in a veterans' hospital under an assumed name, and. on 
a pretext, gets Cooper there so that Hull could see him. 
Hull, who had run away from the hospital, intent on dis- 
appearing so as not to spoil his son's life, cannot resist the 
impulse to visit the boy at the Academy. After his departure, 
Cooper realizes that he was his father, and rushes after 
him. He insists on leaving town with him. But the timely 
arrival of Devine, who informs Hull that he had obtained 
an honorable discharge for him from Washington, compel 
both to alter their plans. Cooper is joyous at being able to 
go back to school. 

George Green, Tom Buckingham, and Clarence Marks 
wrote the story, and Nathanael West and Whitney Bolton, 
the screen play ; Joseph Santley directed it, and Burt 
Kelly produced it. In the cast are Tim Holt, Gene Rey- 
nolds. Kathryn Kane. Jackie Moran, and others. 

Suitability, Class A. 



40 



HARRISON'S REPORTS 



March 11, 1939 



removed in such a manner. Just state the facts of your case 
and the reasons for your complaint in as plain language as 
possible, showing where the injustice is committed, and 
send them to the proper home office. You will find the 
address of each company in the Harrison's Reports Index. 

In the old days, your complaint would be, no doubt, 
thrown in the waste-paper basket ; but the producers have 
had so many law suits lately that they are, I am sure, fed 
up with them. Besides, the Government's suit has had a 
sobering effect on them, and even on their lawyers. 

If you so desire, you might send a copy of your complaint 
also to this office so that, in case no action is taken, the 
writer might be able to intercede for you. 



TRADE PRACTICES NEGOTIATIONS 
AT A STANDSTILL 

On March 1, the authority of the Allied committee 
negotiating with the distributor committee for the adoption 
of fair trade practices expired, and since the Allied board 
of directors will not meet, its authority cannot be renewed. 
Consequently, official negotiations with the Allied organi- 
zation through this committee cannot be continued. 

According to a statement from the Washington Allied 
headquarters, however, the distributors are free to submit 
whatever further proposals they see fit to make, and the 
General Counsel of the organization will forward them to 
the board of directors by mail for whatever action they may 
decide to take. 

The latter part of January, Allied counsel was asked to 
redraft the distributor proposals in a language that would 
be clear to the exhibitors, and on February 7 he submitted 
his revised draft ; it embodied not only an alteration in 
phraseology, but also an outline of the principles, machin- 
ery and procedure of a proposed arbitration system. 

Since that time, Mr. Myers has been advised by distri- 
butor representatives that the distributor committee will 
soon submit to Allied the final draft. But so far no new 
draft has been submitted. There is no question, however, 
that one will be submitted soon, even though Messrs. 
Rodgers and Kent are on the Coast, conferring with pro- 
duction executives. 



THE MERCIFUL EFFECT OF THE NEELY 
BILL ON THE POCKETBOOKS 
OF THE PRODUCERS 

In the February 17 issue of The Hollywood Reporter, 
W. R. Wilkerson discusses the incident of a producer- 
director who told him that he was asked to start shooting a 
picture before the script was ready, and of his fear that the 
picture would, under such circumstances, cost $50(3,000 
more. 

According to Mr. Wilkerson, the picture was produced, 
but it cost, not $500,000, but $780,000 more. 

In the same editorial, he says : "Recently, two studios 
have been forced to shelve what should have been, two very 
important pictures, each for a loss of better than $1,000,- 
000 because they started production with practically no 
script." 

Mr. Wilkerson asks : "Has any one ever found an intelli- 
gent reason for starting a picture before the script is 
finished?" 

No, Mr. Wilkerson! There is absolutely no intelligent 
reason why a producer should start a picture, particularly 
when it is to cost at least $500,000, before the script is ready 
for shooting. Has any one ever heard of a builder starting 
the erection of a building that is to cost $500,000 before the 
architect is ready with his plans? Without a finished script 
no unit producer can predict what twist the situations will 
take. Often he is compelled to "scrap" costly scenes, be- 
cause the writer finds himself compelled to make altera- 
tions in the story. Quite often, the production crew is com- 
pelled to wait for the author to bring in a part of the story. 
And there is a payroll for that picture running into thou- 
sands of dollars a day; waiting for the author to bring in 
copy is a costly affair. 

No unit producer can tell in advance how much a picture 



will cost unless he has in his hands a script complete in 
every detail. It is only thus that he is able to break down 
his script and apportion the costs. 

The Neely Bill, if passed, will correct such an unnatural 
situation, for the law will compel the distributor to furnish 
to the exhibitor a true synopsis of the story, containing the 
main outlines. Moreover, the pictures will then be sold on 
their individual merits rather than on the merit of the 
entire block, each picture bringing in only what it is worth. 
The company that will permit its producers to waste half 
of the picture's budget, through either carelessness or in- 
competence, will soon find itself confronted with the neces- 
sity of getting rid of those responsible for the waste. Con- 
sequently, under a law such as that which has been proposed 
by Senator Neely, the producers should save millions each 
year, savings which will bring relief, not only to the film 
companies themselves, but eventually also to the exhibitors. 

Mr. Wilkerson has opposed the Neely Bill all along, but 
he does not say how the conditions he complains against 
may be remedied. 



THE STATUS OF "THE LADY 
VANISHES" 

An exhibitor has informed this paper that the 20th 
Century-Fox branch manager of his territory is trying to 
compel him to play "The Lady Vanishes" under his 20th 
Century-Fox contract. 

"The Lady Vanishes" is not a 20th Century-Fox picture ; 
it is a Gaumont-British, and is so designated in the 20th 
Century-Fox release lists. 

It is true that, under the contract, 20th Century-Fox may 
deliver to the contract holders four English-made pictures, 
but "The Lady Vanishes" does not come under such a 
classification : "English-made" means pictures produced in 
England by 20th Century-Fox, and not by some other 
concern. The proof that such is the meaning of this phrase 
may be seen in the contract's Eighth Clause, which reads 
as follows : 

"The Distributor warrants that none of said motion pic- 
tures are . . . foreign produced by a foreign producer, ex- 
cept those specifically specified as such in the Schedule. . . ." 
And the Schedule fails to specify that "The Lady Vanishes" 
is not a foreign produced picture. 

But there is no reason why those of you who may be able 
to obtain this picture at a satisfactory price should not play 
it, for it is one of the best pictures that has come out of 
British studios and should do credit to the theatres that 
will play it. 



MORE "REMAKES" 

In a recent issue, twenty-five pictures were listed as 
having been announced by different producers for remake. 

Of the twenty-five, nine have been announced by Warner 
Bros. Here are two more that it will produce. 

According to an item in the New York Times, this com- 
pany is planning to remake "Twenty Thousand Years in 
Sing Sing," with John Garfield as the star. It was first 
produced in 1933 by the same company (First National), 
with Spencer Tracy as the star. It turned out a good enter- 
tainment, combining melodrama with human interest and 
comedy. But since that time there have been produced so 
many prison melodramas that a story such as this is no 
longer novel. It may, however, do well because of Garfield, 
who is gaining popularity fast. 

An item in Daily Variety gives the information that War- 
ners will remake also "Burning Daylight," the Jack London 
yarn. This story was produced first in 1914, by Paramount ; 
in 1920, by Metro, with Mitchell Lewis as the star ; and in 
1928, by First National, with Milton Sills as the star- 
three times in all. None of the times did it set any ex- 
hibitor's box-office "afire," and it is doubtful whether it 
could be made into anything outstanding now. The "punch" 
is in the scenes where the hero is shown holding up the two 
millionaires at the point of a gun and taking away from 
them the millions they had cheated him of. Even though he 
may have been justified in doing so, it is not an edifying 
act. Errol Flynn may play the hero's part. 



Entered as second-class matter January 4, 1921, at the post office at New York, New York, under the act of March 3, 1879. 



Harrison's Reports 

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Vol. XXI SATURDAY, MARCH 18, 1939 No. 11 



UNAUTHORIZED ALTERATIONS NOT 
BINDING AND MAY EVEN 
NULLIFY A CONTRACT 

The March 8 Service Bulletin, published by Pete 
Wood, business manager of Independent Theatre 
Owners of Ohio, contains the following interesting 
news item under the heading, "Hard to Erase the 
Spots" : 

"We were just complimenting ourselves upon 
the improvement in the ethics of the industry when 
'Up Pops the Devil' and gives us a resounding slap 
in the kisser. 

"The 'devil' in this case is United Artists, who 
pulled a fast one by changing the price allocations 
in the Edward Small and Hal Roach current con- 
tracts. These changes were made after the exhibi- 
tor had signed the contracts (and without his per- 
mission), through the medium of an added provi- 
sion 'rubber-stamped' upon the exhibitor's copy of 
the approved contract. 

"It has been sometime since any major company 
resorted to an act of this nature and, as United 
Artists had absolutely no right to add this provision 
to the contract without the express permission of 
the exhibitor, we urge all exhibitors whose con- 
tracts were so changed to write to United Artists 
that, in the event fewer pictures than the num- 
ber called for in the Small and Roach contracts are 
delivered, the total rentals for the delivered pic- 
tures shall not exceed the amount of the rental 
stated in the contracts. 

"We ask each and every member who bought 
these pictures to look at his approved copy of the 
contract and advise this office if there has been 
added to the 'exhibitor's copy' of the contract a 
rubber stamp provision which does not appear in 
the 'Application for Contract' left with him at the 
time he signed the contract." 

That any one in United Artists should resort to 
such tactics in these days is astounding. 

If Mr. Wood's information is accurate, the al- 
teration in the contract has occurred, either at the 
exchange, or at the Home Office ; and has been 
made, not by a salesman, but by a responsible 
official. 

United Artists owes an explanation of this inci- 
dent to the independent theatre owners of the 
United States. As a matter of fact, Allied States 
should take a hand in this matter with a view to 
identifying the guilty official and passing his name 
along to the exhibitors. 

Regarding Pete Wood's advice to the exhibitors 
of his territory as to what they should do in case 



any of them have found their contracts altered, 
allow me to say that a clause inserted into the con- 
tract without the knowledge of the exhibitor is not 
binding. Under the laws of some states, I am in- 
formed, such contracts may be entirely nullified. 
Mr. Pete Wood should, therefore, find out what the 
law in this regard is in the State of Ohio, with the 
view of advising the members of his organization. 

When your contract is altered by any distribu- 
tor, irrespective of whether the alteration has been 
made by a minor or by a major official, just disre- 
gard the new provision, so informing the distribu- 
tor; and if the exchange should try to compel you 
to live up to the provisions of the unauthorized 
alteration, you should notify this office to that 
effect. 



PUBLIC BACKING OF AN 
INDEPENDENT THEATRE 
OWNER 

According to Main Line Times, of Ardmore, 
Pennsylvania, the Bryn Mawr Business Associa- 
tion has appealed to the Department of Justice to 
order the operators of the Ardmore Theatre "and 
producers and distributors associated with them 
(Warner Bros. ) to cease and desist" from discrimi- 
nating against the Seville Theatre. Copies of the 
resolution were sent also to many United States 
Senators, as well as to most of the film companies. 

The move of the Bryn Mawr Business Associa- 
tion was prompted by the suit that had been brought 
by Harry Fried, owner of the Seville, the Subur- 
ban, and the Anthony Wayne theatres, against the 
distributors who are now supplying films to the 
Ardmore, charging conspiracy in restraint of trade, 
as a result of their withholding all their films from 
his theatres until after they have been shown at 
the Ardmore. 

According to this newspaper, a committee of the 
business association found indications of discrimi- 
nation, detrimental to the interests of the commu- 
nity in that it affected Bryn Mawr's cultural advan- 
tages. It found that chain theatres "retain all op- 
tions, privileges and prerogatives in the conduct of 
the business by controlling the date of exhibition of 
respective films and it appears to the committee that 
no remedy, other than an action at law, is available 
to correct this seeming discrimination against the 
citizens and the best interests of Bryn Mawr. . . . " 

The Bryn Mawr Business Association has taken 
this action despite an address given to it by the 
manager of the Ardmore Theatre in an attempt to 
justify the company's policy, as bringing better 
pictures to the towns of the Main Line. 

{Continued on last page) 



42 



HARRISON'S REPORTS 



March 18, 1939 



"The Flying Irishman" with Douglas 
Corrigan, Paul Kelly and 
Eddie Quillan 

(RKO, March 24; time, 71 mm) 

Fair. This picture's box-office possibilities have been 
minimized by the length of time that has elapsed since 
Douglas Corrigan made his famous flight to Ireland ; there- 
fore, a strong exploitation campaign will be needed to put 
it across. As entertainment, it is strictly program fare, 
suitable mostly for aviation enthusiasts. Its appeal should 
be directed mainly to men and to children ; the lack of a 
romance or of an absorbing plot makes it doubtful for 
women. Supposedly the story of Corrigan's struggles to be- 
come a famous aviator, the plot is developed in a simple 
way ; parts of it are narrated in the form of a newsreel, but 
for the most part it is acted out. 

The story starts with Corrigan's home life as a young 
boy. Constant bickering between his mother (played by 
Dorothy Peterson) and his father (J. M. Kerrigan) finally 
resulted in his father's leaving home. Faced with the neces- 
sity of helping his mother support his younger brother and 
sister, Corrigan had to give up the thought of going to 
college. Instead he worked hard; following a promise he 
had made to his mother before she had died, he sent his 
brother (Eddie Quillan) to college. There was only one 
thing Corrigan wanted to do, and that was to learn how to 
fly. While working at an aeroplane factory, he made friends 
with a one-time war ace ( Paul Kelly ) , who gave him in- 
structions. Corrigan's hardest times followed then ; in com- 
pany with his brother, who had left college, he barnstormed 
the country in a cheap plane he had bought with the money 
he had inherited from his father. His one desire now was to 
become a transport pilot ; but there were many require- 
ments. Until Corrigan could earn enough money to meet 
one, new requirements would crop up. Desperate, he finally 
decided to do something spectacular, which resulted in his 
flight to Ireland in a nine-year old plane that he owned. His 
success brought about the desired result. 

Ernest Pagano and Dalton Trumbo wrote the screen 
play, Leigh Jason directed it, and Pandro S. Berman pro- 
duced it. In the cast are Robert Armstrong, Gene Rey- 
nolds, Donald MacBride, Scotty Beckett, and others. 

Suitability, Class A. 

"The Ice Follies of 1939" with Joan 
Crawford, James Stewart 
and Lew Ayres 

(MGM, March 10; running timc,8\ win.) 
A very good box-office attraction. This is due, not only 
to the pleasant romantic story, as well as to the drawing 
power of the stars, but also to the novel way in which the 
ice-skating routines have been staged. The skating troupe, 
headed by the well-known team of Bess Ehrhardt and Roy 
Shipstad, performs with skill, blending comic numbers 
with thrilling ones. Particularly impressive are the closing 
scenes, photographed in technicolor ; they have an ex- 
tremely lavish background. The skating, costuming, and 
form of presentation are unusually good. Human interest 
is awakened by the sympathy one feels for both hero and 
heroine : — ■ 

Feeling that she could help her husband (James Stewart) 
and his friend (Lew Ayres), ice-skating partners who were 
out of work, Joan Crawford obtains a position as a motion 
picture actress. Ayres refuses, however, to be supported ; 
he leaves for the East, in an effort to procure bookings. 
Stewart is miserable at the separation. At first he accepts 
Miss Crawford's work good-naturedly, doing the house- 
work and cooking. But once she becomes famous, his pride 
is hurt. He leaves her, promising to return when he, too, 
would be successful. His plans for an "Ice Follies" revue 
finally take form, and in a short time, bookings start pour- 
ing in. But their work keeps them apart. Unable to bear the 
separation any longer, Miss Crawford decides to give up 
her career. Lewis Stone, the studio head, thinks of a better 
plan. He signs up Stewart's troupe for motion picture work, 
at the same time engaging Stewart as the producer of Miss 
Crawford's pictures, thus bringing happiness to the re- 
united pair. 

Leonard Praskins wrote the story, and he, Florence 
Ryerson, and Edgar Allan Woolf, the screen play ; Rein- 
hold Schunzel directed it, and Harry Rapf produced it. In 
the cast are Lionel Stander, Charles D. Brown, and others. 

Suitability, Class A. 



"Trouble in Sundown" with George O'Brien 
and Rosalind Keith 

(RKO, March 24; time, 60 nun.) 

A good program Western. Although the story is routine, 
the action is fast-moving and thus one's attention is held 
well. The fast horseback riding and the exciting fist fights 
should satisfy the Western fans. As for others, there is a 
sprinkling of comedy, a few musical interpolations, and a 
pleasant romance. George O'Brien plays the crusading 
ranch owner's part with conviction :— 

O'Brien arrives at the village in time to stop an angry 
crowd from lynching the bank president, whose safe had 
been robbed of $90,000, and who was supposed to be the 
only one who knew the combination. They had been urged 
to take the law into their own hands by the crooks them- 
selves, who posed as honest citizens. O'Brien, who was in 
love with the president's daughter (Rosalind Keith), sends 
him to a hideout. But the villain's men follow him there 
and try to force him to sign a confession, their intention 
being to kill him. O'Brien arrives with a deputy ; the crooks 
shoot and kill the deputy, making it appear as if the crime 
had been committed by the president, who later gives him- 
self up. At the trial, O'Brien thinks of a plan to trap the 
villain leader (Cyrus W. Kendall). His plan works and the 
president's innocence is established. Kendall and his men 
are arrested, and law and order is restored to the village. 
O'Brien and Miss Keith plan to marry. 

Charles F. Royal wrote the story, and Oliver Drake, 
Dorrell McGowan, and Stuart McGowan, the screen play ; 
David Howard directed it, and Bert Gilroy produced it. In 
the cast are Ray Whitley, Chill Wills, Ward Bond and 
Howard Hickman. 

Suitability, Class A. 



"The Headleys at Home" with Evelyn 
Venable and Grant Mitchell 

(Syndicate Exchanges ; time, 59 mitt.) 

A mildly pleasant program picture, suitable mostly for 
neighborhood theatres. It is a domestic comedy, in which 
the head of the house (Grant Mitchell) is harrassed by a 
socially ambitious wife (Betty Roadman). There is fair 
excitement and comedy in the closing scenes, when Miss 
Roadman, through a trick, entertains in her home a crook 
whom she believed to be a millionaire college friend of her 
husband's. The romance is mildly pleasant: — 

Miss Roadman, proud of the fact that her husband 
(Mitchell) had gone to the same college as that attended 
by a nationally known millionaire, boasts to every one that 
her husband was a close friend of this millionaire. Mitchell 
tries to reason with her by telling her that he had had just 
a nodding acquaintance with the man. His two daughters 
(Evelyn Venable and Alicia Adams) sympathize with him. 
When Miss Roadman learns that the millionaire intended 
visiting their town, she prepares to entertain him. Miss 
Venable, realizing that her father did not know the man 
and, therefore, could not invite him, turns to her fiance for 
help. He engages an actor to impersonate the millionaire at 
the party. But it develops that this actor was really a crook 
who, the day before, had robbed Mitchell's bank. At the 
party, Mitchell recognizes him from a mark on his hand. 
After some excitement, the crook is subdued and the money, 
which he had brought along with him in a suitcase, is re- 
covered. 

Carrington North and William Miles wrote the story, 
and they and Nicholas Bela, the screen play ; Chris Beute 
directed it, and B. W. Richards produced it. In the cast are 
Robert Whitney, Vinee Barnett, Benny Rubin, Louise 
Beavers, Kenneth Harlan, and Edward Earle. 

Suitability, Class A. 



"Yes, My Darling Daughter" with Priscilla 
Lane and Jeffrey Lynn 

(First National, February 25 ; time, 74 inin.) 

In the review printed in the February 25 issue of Harri- 
son's Reports, the running time was given as 85y 2 minutes. 

Since that time, several cuts have been made, bringing 
the running time down to 74 minutes. This new footage 
will be, according to the Home Office, nation-wide. 

Incidentally, the original version was placed by the 
Legion of Decency in the "C" list; but with the deletions 
made the classification has been changed to the "B" list, 
which means objectionable in part. 



March 18, 1939 



HARRISON'S REPORTS 



43 



"Society Smugglers" with Preston Foster 
and Irene Hervey 

(Universal, February 24; time, 70 mill.) 

An entertaining program melodrama ; the acting and di- 
rection are capable, and the production values fairly good. 
The action, which centers around the efforts of treasury 
department agents to uncover a gang of jewel smugglers, 
is fast and at times exciting. Realizing the constant danger 
to the agents, one is naturally held in suspense. Although 
the story is not novel, several unusual twists have been 
used in the plot developments. The romance and comedy 
are pleasant additions : — 

Irene Hervey, assistant to Preston Foster, treasury de- 
partment agent, is assigned to work in a luggage store, 
whose owner (Clay Clement) was suspected of being a 
smuggler. When the luggage company sponsors a slogan 
contest, the winners to tour Europe, Miss Hervey and 
Foster suspect something. They substitute Regis Toomey, 
another agent, in place of one of the winners. By carefully 
watching Fred Keating, who had been sent to Europe along 
with the winners as the company representative, Toomey 
learns that Keating was smuggling jewels by placing them 
in the trunks belonging to the touring winners. But by this 
time Clement had discovered Miss Hervey 's connection 
with the treasury department. Following orders of his chief 
(Walter Woolf King), who had fallen in love with Miss 
Hervey, Clement cables the news to Keating. Keating kills 
Toomey, throwing his body overboard. Eventually Foster 
traps Clement and King, forcing them to confess. Their 
work finished, Miss Hervey and Foster decide to marry. 

Arthur Horman wrote the screen play, Joe May directed 
it, and Ken Goldsmith produced it. In the cast are Frank 
Jenks, Frances Robinson, Raymond Parker, Milburn 
Stone, and others. 

Suitability, Class A. 



"Never Say Die" with Martha Raye 
and Bob Hope 

(Paramount, April 21 ; time, 81 min.) 

This comedy, bordering on slapstick, is good mass enter- 
tainment. The story, which is made up of gags, is thin ; but 
that does not detract from the picture's entertaining quality, 
for the gags are extremely comical. One is kept laughing 
almost throughout. The most amusing situation is in the 
close, when Bob Hope and Alan Mowbray engage in a 
pistol duel. So comical is it that it should provoke uproari- 
ous laughter, leaving the spectator in a good mood. Bob 
Hope, Martha Raye, and Andy Devine manage to put the 
gags over in an amusing way without too much clowning 
or silliness. Miss Raye sings one song: — 

Bob Hope, an American millionaire touring Europe, is 
constantly worried about his health ; he imagines that he 
was suffering from all kinds of diseases. To add to his 
troubles, he is pursued by a fortune-hunting widow (Gale 
Sondergaard) , who had killed her two previous husbands. 
Through an error, a chemist sends Hope his findings in an 
acidity test that really referred to a test given to a dog. 
Hope's doctor, upon reading the findings, is amazed ; he 
informs Hope that he would dwindle away and die within 
sixty days. Feeling that he would like to do a good deed, he 
helps out Miss Raye, daughter of a millionaire Texas oil 
man, who wanted to marry her off to an impoverished 
nobleman (Mowbray), even though she loved Andy De- 
vine, an American. Hope tells her that, since he would soon 
die, she could marry him, inherit his fortune, and then 
marry Devine. Complications arise — Devine arrives on the 
day of the marriage and insists on accompanying the newly- 
weds so as to keep a protecting eye on Miss Raye. Mowbray 
and Miss Sondergaard try to make trouble, but Hope paci- 
fies them by telling them they were legatees under his will. 
But when it is discovered that the acidity test was not 
Hope's, and that he would live, Mowbray challenges him 
to a duel, which Hope wins. By this time he and Miss 
Raye arc in love with each other ; they are happy when 
Devine and Miss Sondergaard decide to marry. 

William H. Post wrote the story, and Don Hartman, 
Frank Butler, and Preston Sturges, the screen play ; Elliott 
Nugent directed it, and Paul Jones produced it. In the cast 
are Ernest Cossart, Sig Rumann, Paul Harvey, and others. 

Suitability, Class A. 



"Whispering Enemies" with Jack Holt 
and Dolores Costello 

(Columbia, March 24; time, 63 min.) 

An unpleasant program melodrama. Although there is 
plentiful action, the doings of the characters are not such 
as to win one's sympathy. The hero's part is particularly 
unpleasant, for he is put in the position of a villain. Even 
though an effort is made to justify his actions, one cannot 
sympathize with him. The closing scenes, which take place 
in a prison, hold one in fair suspense : — 

When his cosmetic business is ruined by a whispering 
campaign started by a rival concern, Jack Holt decides to 
use similar methods in order to ruin them. In company with 
his former business manager, Holt, under an assumed 
name, opens an advertising agency ; his first client is a 
cosmetic concern. By means of a whispering campaign 
drive, he soon has his client's business soaring, at the same 
time bringing to a standstill the business of his former 
rival. But he does not stop with just this concern; he ac- 
cepts clients in other fields, working on the same basis. 
Dolores Costello, owner of the rival cosmetic concern, who 
had been abroad and was unaware of what her managers 
had done to Holt, returns to find her own business in a bad 
way. She obtains a position as one of Holt's operatives and, 
when she has sufficient evidence against him, confronts 
him ; he then informs her what her concern had done. When 
one of Holt's campaigns gets out of hand, he goes to the 
District Attorney and gives himself up ; he is tried and 
sentenced to prison. After having stopped a prison break, 
he is paroled, joining Miss Costello in her business. They 
later decide to marry. 

John Rawlins and Harold Tarshis wrote the story, and 
Gordon Rigby and Tom Kilpatrick, the screen play ; Lewis 
D. Collins directed it, and Larry Darmour produced it. In 
the cast are Addison Richards, Joseph Crehan, Donald 
Briggs, Pert Kelton, and others. 

Unsuitable for children. Class B. 



"Inside Story" with Michael Whalen 
and Jean Rogers 

(20//! Century-Fox, March 10 ; time, 60 min.) 

A pretty good program melodrama. It holds one's atten- 
tion well, for the action is fast and the story, for the most 
part, interesting. The first half is somewhat sordid and 
demoralizing ; particularly so are the actions of the heroine, 
a hostess working at a "clip joint," who is shown openly 
stealing money from customers' wallets. But her reforma- 
tion in the end, when she tries to make un for her former 
actions, is pleasing. Chick Chandler provokes laughter by 
his antics : — 

Michael Whalen, a newspaper columnist, while intoxi- 
cated, writes an article about his being a lonely man. The 
article so pleases his editor, that he instructs Wlialen to 
follow it up with an article asking the loneliest girl in town 
to get in touch with him, so as to arrange to spend the 
Christmas holidays in the country, properly chaperoned. 
Jean Rogers, who had become involved in the murder of a 
customer (John King), who had complained when she had 
stolen his money from him, decides to leave town. She 
answers Whalen's article and is accepted as the girl to 
spend the week-end with him. But Douglas Fowley, owner 
of the cafe where she had worked, follows her and forces 
her to return to the city. He tries to kill her. When Whalen 
learns the truth, he is disgusted for he had believed in Miss 
Rogers. But Miss Rogers promises to help him convict 
Fowley. At the trial, however, she testifies for Fowley, 
winning his release. She had done this just to help Whalen 
get more evidence he needed. Kventuully Whalen discovers 
where King's body had been hidden; Fowley follows him 
there. But with the help of two women who lived next door 
to the hideout, Whalen is able to overpower Fowley. Fow- 
ley is arrested and Miss Rogers' name cleared. She and 
Whalen go back to the farm to si>end an uninterrupted New 
Year's week-end there. 

Ben Ames Williams wrote the story, and Jerry Cady. the 
screen play ; Ricardo Cortex directed it, and Howard J. 
Green produced it. In the cast are Jane Darwell, June Gale, 
Spencer C harters, and others. 

Not for children. Class B. 



'14 



HARRISON'S REPORTS 



March 18, 1939 



"The first round of the legal fight/' says the 
paper, "was won when the court denied a motion 
by the defendants for a bill of particulars. The 
judge indicated he thought the move was an attempt 
to stall proceedings." 

Mr. Fried's move is just what this paper has been 
advocating for many years — that sufferers from 
such discrimination should take the public into 
their confidence with a view to enlisting their sup- 
port. By so doing, they may benefit, not only mor- 
ally, but also financially : when an exhibitor arouses 
the public against an abuse and rallies it to fight 
with him, they cannot help attending the perform- 
ances of his theatre and keeping away from the 
performances of the offending theatre. And an 
independent exhibitor has a wealth of reasonable 
argument why the public should line up with him 
in his fight against such opposition. 

If your local situation is similar to that of Mr. 
Fried, write to the Bryn Mawr Business Associa- 
tion and obtain a copy of the resolution they have 
passed in his support, as well as whatever other 
information it can give you, and present them to 
vour local association with a view to enlisting their 
support. A move such as this should prove bene- 
ficial even if you do not intend to bring suit for 
restraint of trade. 

The producers should get out of exhibition in 
small towns. 



A STRONG BLAST AGAINST 
CENSORSHIP 

It was not so wise for the Censorship Commis- 
sioner of New York State to ban " Yes, My Darling 
Daughter!'' as the subsequent action of the Board 
of Regents proved, for this Board, after suggesting 
some eliminations, which were made, passed the 
picture. 

But censors must do something to show that they 
deserve the salary they get from their states, and to 
justify their existence. 

Grasping the opportunity to point out to the 
American public how inconsistent with American 
liberties is censorship, Mr. Martin Starr, that en- 
terprising commentator of motion pictures over the 
WMCA radio station, arranged for an anti-censor- 
ship symposium over that station; it was held at 
four o'clock on the afternoon of Wednesday, 
March 1. Messrs. Harry Brandt, the independent 
exhibitor, owner of a large number of theatres in 
and around New York, and Chester B. Bahn, for- 
merly of the Syracuse Herald, and now editor of 
Film Daily, were the chief speakers. The writer, 
too, spoke his piece. 

.According to Mr. Starr, the anti-censorship ti- 
rade was received by the public, as well as by the 
motion picture industry, well. For this, Mr. Stan- 
deserves the thanks of the independent theatre 
owners, who, after all, foot the bill of the censor- 
ship cost, even though indirectly. 

Censorship is foreign to the character of Amer- 
icans, for it gives an individual the powers of a 
dictator, and allows him to assume to speak for the 
people of an entire state, even though numberless 
residents of that state may be far superior to him in 
intelligence. 

Censorship is an anachronism, and should be 
taken off the statute books, not only of this State, 
but of every other state where it exists. 



THE ANNUAL ALLIED CONVENTION 
TO BE HELD IN MINNEAPOLIS 

At the recent meeting of the Allied board of di- 
rectors in Washington, it was voted unanimously 
that the next annual Allied convention be held in 
Minneapolis. 

No date was set, but in all probability it will be 
held in the first half of June. 

This year the gathering of the independent thea- 
tre owners to hear what the Allied leaders have 
done since last year's convention, and what they 
propose to do in the future, will have special sig- 
nificance, for they will have much of great interest 
to report. 

There is the adjudication of the question of pro- 
tection or clearance by the highest court of the land, 
when it is employed to protect the big circuits in 
their efforts to destroy independent competition : 
No circuit can again demand of the producers that 
they refuse to sell their product to subsequent-run 
theatres unless such theatres charge a price dictated 
by them ; or that they forbid the independents from 
showing two features on the same bill, for the U. S. 
Supreme Court has, by its recent decision in the 
Dallas case, outlawed the granting of such de- 
mands. There is the Government suit, now pending 
in the Federal District Court, in New York City. 
There is the matter of theatre divorce legislation, 
particularly the case of the State of North Dakota. 
.And there is the question of trade reforms, which 
seem to have bogged hopelessly. 

You should make your plans to attend that con- 
vention now. If you miss it, you will have done 
yourself an injustice, for it will probably be the 
most enthusiastic convention that you will have 
ever attended. 



CORRECTING WRONG TRADE 
PAPER IMPLICATIONS 

Col. I I. A. Cole, president of Allied States Asso- 
ciation, issued the following statement on March 
10, while in New York : 

"Since casual remarks made in conversations 
with trade paper representatives have been misin- 
terpreted, it becomes necessary that a formal state- 
ment to clarify my position be made. 

"I certainly have not stated that Allied's position 
is one of 'no further negotiation.' I did state that, 
since the Distributor representatives had said at 
various times of late that they could go no farther 
in the matter of concessions, there was no further 
need at this time for further conversations between 
our Committee and theirs ; also that the authority 
of our Committee lapsed as of March 1st by resolu- 
tion of our Board. I did not state that our Counsel, 
Mr. Myers, would not visit New York to confer 
with the distributors' attorneys, regarding the 
wording of proposals made, but did state that I 
knew of no specific date set for such a meeting. 

"After all these years, Allied's position on nego- 
tiation should be well known. We stand ready at 
any time to negotiate with those in authority re- 
garding fair trade practices, if and when there is 
definite reason to believe that substantial results 
can be obtained warranting the time and effort 
expended." 



Entered as second-class matter January 4, 1921, at the post office at New York, New York, under the act of March 3, 1879. 



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A REVIEWING SERVICE FREE FROM THE INFLUENCE OF FILM ADVERTISING 

Vol. XXI SATURDAY, MARCH 25, 1939 No. 12 



TELEVISION HAS ARRIVED 

By the time you read this article, the Radio Corporation 
of America will have, I am sure, started selling television 
sets, and on April 30 the National Broadcasting Company 
will begin in the New York area their announced schedule 
of television broadcasts of a minimum of two hours weekly. 
How quickly such service will be started in other areas will 
depend largely on the success it attains in this area. 

It is difficult to foretell just how the coming television ser- 
vice to the home will fit into the scheme of picture-theatre 
entertainment ; but one fact is certain : television is here. 

An opinion as to what the producers' attitude towards 
television should be was expressed in the fifth and last 
article of the television series, which appeared in the 
January seventh issue of Harrison's Reports; it may be 
re-expressed in two words : better pictures. The question 
now is what the attitude of the exhibitors should be. In the 
opinion of this paper, the logical attitude of the exhibitors 
should be to try to profit from it. In the early months, tele- 
vision's novelty value to the public will, in all probability, 
run high. For this reason, any lobby tie-in with it should 
prove successful. A television receiver might be installed 
in your lobby by arrangement with your nearest radio- 
receiver dealer, who no doubt plans to handle also tele- 
vision receivers. 

This paper cannot advise you on the question of installing 
a television receiver into the theatre itself, for this would 
come under the heading of charging an admission price for 
television entertainment. This fact naturally involves legal 
questions that will not have been aired in the early stages 
of television activities. Six or eight months from now these 
may be settled, and you may be able to take a greater ad- 
vantage of this invention. But right now vou should be 
content with lobby tie-ins. Perhaps it will be such tie-ins 
that will eventually identify the relationship of the two 
entertainments, television and motion pictures. 



THE MORSE & ROTHENBERG SUIT 
AGAINST THE MAJORS IN BOSTON 

In the last ten weeks there has been held before Master 
Philip A. Hendrick, at the Federal Building, in Boston, the 
suit that Messrs. Morse and Rothenberg, of the M & R 
Amusement Co., have brought against the major distribu- 
tors for the violation of the anti-trust law, seeking $2,100,- 
000 damages. Mr. George S. Ryan, of Boston, is the attor- 
ney for the plaintiffs. Mr. Ryan is the attorney who won 
the case of E. M. Loew against Paramount at the time 
Paramount was in receivership. Mr. Ryan is now attorney 
also for Mr. A. B. Momand and for other exhibitors, in 
Boston as well as elsewhere. The suit is not yet over. 

At frequent intervals last year, Mr. Ryan was in New 
York taking depositions of the defendants, and thus was 
able to bring to light much valuable evidence. 

At the opening session before the Master the last days of 
December, the prosecution entered among the first exhibits 
a telegram dated July 30, 1930, sent by Mr. C. C. Pettijohn 
to Martha W. Ferris, secretary of the Film Board of 
Trade of Boston, reading as follows : 

"There is no doubt about the legality of basing protec- 
tion first-runs on admission prices." 

It was, of course, the substance of a belief that prevailed 
at that time; but subsequent court decisions destroyed that 
belief. 

The plaintiff's chief complaint was the fact that lie could 
not obtain film of any run. "For the season 1930-31," Mr. 
Ryan stated, "the plaintiff had no difficulty whatever in 
buying all the major product second-run, except Para- 



mount. . . . The distributors were generally glad to get this 
additional revenue. . . . 

"It so happened, however, that, during the first year, 
1930-31, the plaintiff received his pictures very late. It was 
not able to get them until at least six months after first 
run. ..." 

Mr. Ryan attributed the long protection established to 
the fact that his client had as competitor the Maine & New 
Hampshire Theatre Co., which took such an unusual step 
so as to destroy the business of the plaintiff ; also the fol- 
lowing step : 

"In February, 1931," Mr. Ryan stated, "they opened up 
the Portsmouth Theatre . . . that had been closed. ... It 
was kept closed when there were only two theatres open. 
But now, with three theatres open, it is opened. It ran from 
February to June, 1931, at prices of 10 cents for matinee 
and 10 cents for evening. 

"It ran on second run product of the major distributors. 
As a result . . . the plaintiff was forced to operate not 
second run but third run. ... Its prices, Your Honor will 
note, were even lower than the prices of the plaintiff. . . . " 

Mr. Ryan anticipated the defense by calling the Master's 
attention to the fact that, although the defendants would 
point to the plaintiff's low-admission prices as a reason for 
their refusal to sell to the plaintiff, yet they sold to the 
M & N H Theatre Co. second-run product at the Ports- 
mouth to be shown at 10 cents for matinees and 10 cents and 
15 cents for evening performances. 

"I doubt if the Maine and New Hampshire Theatre Co. 
ever operated a theatre at such low prices except with the 
purpose of injuring a competitor. In the anti-trust laws, if 
Your Honor please, the resort to price-cutting to eliminate 
competition is well known. ..." 

Mr. Ryan then proceeded to inform the Master that the 
majors, during the 1931-32 season, refused to sell them any 
run of pictures whatever, and that they would not give any 
bona fide excuse for their refusal. 

This paper intends to print whatever important breaches 
of good business ethics may have been or yet be revealed at 
this hearing. Wide publicity given to unethical business 
practices tends to eradicate them. 



UNITED ARTISTS' HOME OFFICE 
DOES NOT APPROVE CONTRACT 
ALTERATIONS 

In last week's issue there was reproduced from the 
Service Bulletin of Independent Theatre Owners of Ohio 
an article dealing with the alteration of a contract of an 
Ohio exhibitor by some United Artists executive after the 
exhibitor had signed it, and without his approval, calling 
upon United Artists to offer to the exhibitors of the United 
States an explanation. 

Last week I had a talk with a Home Office executive 
and am in a position to assure you that United Artists had 
not approved, do not approve, and will not approve any 
contract alteration without the exhibitor's consent. They 
felt hurt deeply al>out the incident and, even though the 
responsible salesman made the alteration without any in- 
tention to defraud, they discharged him forthwith. This 
executive said to me : "We don't want in our employ any 
man who will cause the company so much humiliation." 
They are not the exact words, hut the spirit is the same. 

Harrison's Rkports takes this opportunity of commend- 
ing United Artists for the promptness with which thev 
have acted in this matter to avoid misunderstandings with 
the exhibitors. 



46 



HARRISON'S REPORTS 



March 25, 1939 



"The Little Princess" with Shirley Temple, 
Richard Greene and Anita Louise 

(20//» Century-Fax, March 17; time, 91 mm.) 

Very goud. Lavishly produced, with technicolor photog- 
raphy, this is the type of story that suits Shirley's talents 
excellently. Although the story is sentimental, it has human 
interest and delightlul comedy ; and the few musical inter- 
ludes round it out as entertainment that should thrill chil- 
dren and please adults. Shirley has been surrounded by 
capable players; particularly appealing is Sybil Jason, as 
a cockney slavey who worships Shirley. One of the most 
delightful scenes is that in which Shirley, who had gone to 
bed cold and hungry, and had dreamed that she was a prin- 
cess, awakes to rind her garret room filled with beautiful 
things and a table set with hot food. The closing scenes are 
somewhat drawn out, in an effort to keep the spectator 
excited, but they end in a way to please one : — 

Ian Hunter, a British Army Captain, leaves his mother- 
less daughter (Shirley) at an expensive boarding school to 
London, for he had to go to the Boer War. Being extremely 
wealthy, he instructs the schoolmistress (Mary Nash) to 
give Shirley the best of care, regardless of expense. Shirley 
i« nicknamed "The Princess." When word reaches Miss 
Nash that Hunter had been killed and that no funds were 
available, she takes away Shirley's clothes and forces her 
to leave her comfortable room for a garret room, which was 
cold and dismal, compelling her to work. Refusing to be- 
lieve that her father was dead, Shirley pays daily visits to 
the veterans' hospital, looking for him. Arthur Treacher, 
Miss Nash's brother, who was an orderly at the hospital, 
helps her in her search. Her only friend was Anita Louise, 
a former teacher at the school, who had been dismissed 
when Miss Nash misjudged her friendship with Richard 
Greene, grandson of wealthy Miles Mander, the nextdoor 
neighbor; Miss Nash did not know that the young couple 
were married. Mander, who had heard from his Hindu 
servant (Cesar Romero) of Shirley's plight, fills her garret 
room with beautiful things while she was asleep. Miss 
Nash, thinking that Shirley had stolen the things, sends for 
the police. But Shirley escapes and rushes to the hospital. 
There, after a hectic time, she finds her father, who had 
lost his memory. The sight of Shirley and the sound of her 
voice restores his memory ; and there is a joyful reunion. 

Frances H. Burnett wrote the story, and Ethel Hill and 
Walter Ferris, the screen play ; Walter Lang directed it, 
and Gene Markey produced it. In the cast are Marcia Mae 
Jones, Beryl Mercer, E. E. Give, and others. 

Suitability, Class A. 

"Risky Business" with George Murphy 
and Dorothea Kent 

{Universal, March 3; time, 67 win.) 

A pretty good program melodrama. Produced in 1932 
under the title "Okay America," it is now, as it was then, a 
fairly engrossing story, holding one's interest well. It is 
more dramatic than the usual columnist-gangster plot, for 
it does not go in for flippant wisecracks; instead, it centers 
around the hero's courage in endangering his life in order 
to protect an innocent girl who had been kidnapped by 
gangsters. The fact that in the end he meets with death at 
the hands of the gangsters touches one deeply, since he is 
so likeable a character. The romance is minimized : — 

George Murphy, a newspaper columnist and radio com- 
mentator, visits a prominent gangster (Leon Ames), sup- 
posedly retired, in an effort to obtain from him information 
as to the whereabouts of the kidnapped daughter of a promi- 
nent motion picture producer. From what Ames says. 
Murphy realizes that he had the girl. He makes a deal 
whereby he would turn over to him $50,000 for the girl's 
release. Murphy convinces the girl's father of his relia- 
bility. The money is delivered as arranged, hut the gang- 
sters double-cross Murphy ; they do not release the girl. 
Upon visiting them, he learns that money was not the ob- 
ject; the real purpose was to protect Eduardo Ciannelli, 
the gangster leader, who was to be tried by the State. Cian- 
nelli tells Murphy that, if he would intercede with the Gov- 
ernor to go easy with him. he would release the girl. The 
Governor refuses to do so; hut Murphy leads Ciannelli to 
believe that he had so agreed. Ciannelli releases the rnrl ; 
when Murphy knows that she was safe, he tells Ciannelli 
the truth, and then is forced to kill him in self defense; he 
escapes. While broadcasting the facts of the case, Murphy 
is killed by the gangster's henchmen, who were in the 
audience. 

William A. McGuire wrote the story, and Charles Gray- 
son, the screen play ; Arthur Luhin directed it, and Burt 
Kelly produced it. In the cast are El Brendel, John Wray, 
Aruthur Loft, Frances Robinson, and others. 

Not suitable for children. Adult fare. Class B. 



"Mr. Moto in Danger Island" with 
Peter Lorre, Jean Hersholt 
and Warren Hymer 

(20//i Century-Fox, April 7; time, 69 min.) 
. One of the better pictures in the Moto series. The action 
is pretty exciting, holding one in suspense throughout. 
Peter Lorre plays the part of the detective in his usual 
competent way, thrilling one by his daring and cleverness 
in outwitting criminals ; and he has been given a good sup- 
porting cast. Although the plot is far-fetched, it is never 
dull ; the fact that the leader's identity is not revealed until 
the end keeps the spectator interested. Warren Hymer pro- 
vides some good comedy. A mildly pleasant romance is 
worked into the plot : — 

Lorre arrives at Porto Rico as special investigator for 
American diamond dealers, who wanted him to get at the 
source of the diamond-smuggling racket that was emanat- 
ing from Porto Rico. No sooner does Lorre arrive than an 
attempt is made to kill him in a manner similar to that in 
which his predecessor had been killed. But Lorre, with the 
help of Hymer, a rather stupid wrestler who had attached 
himself to him, outwits the gangsters and escapes. Other 
attempts are made to kiil him, but he escapes. Feeling sorry 
for the police chief (Charles D. Brown), whose health had 
broken down because of his inability to cope with the smug- 
glers, Lorre assures Brown's daughter (Amanda Duff) 
that he would help her father. In order to get in with the 
gang, Lorre sends a false report to the Commissioner, in 
which he stated that he (Lorre) was a criminal posing as 
the famous detective. He manages to get to the smugglers' 
hideout, where he finds Brown and h:s daughter, who had 
been kidnapped. But the smugglers learn that he was really 
the detective, and they arrange to kill him. Again he es- 
capes, but this time with the information he needed. He dis- 
closes that the leader was Jean Hersholt, a respected busi- 
ness man of the community. Brown is happy that the case 
had been solved. And his daughter turns her attentions to 
Robert Lowery, who loved her. 

John W. Vandercook wrote the novel from which the 
story ideas by John Reinhardt and George Bricker were 
adapted; Peter Milne wrote the screen play, Herbert I. 
Leeds directed it, and John Stone produced it. In the cast 
are Richard Lane, Leon Ames, Douglas Dumbrille, Paul 
Harvey, and others. 

Suitability, Class A. 



"King of Chinatown" with Akim Tamiroff, 
Anna May Wong and J. Carrol Naish 

(Paramount, March 17; time, 56 min.) 

Just a moderately entertaining program melodrama. The 
performances are superior to the story values, and are the 
main reason for one's interest in the picture. Otherwise, it 
is just another gangster melodrama, lacking the excitement 
one expects in pictures of this type. It starts out pretty 
well, but as it develops it loses its fast pace, for it turns to 
romance. An effort is made to arouse sympathy for the 
leading character, a gangster, by showing that his love for 
a woman had regenerated him. But, remembering his ac- 
tions at the beginning of the picture, one cannot feel much 
sympathy for him ; moreover, the romance is unbelievable : 

Akim. Tamiroff. head of a gang of racketeers who were 
terrorizing the Chinatown district merchants by forcing 
them to.doin a protective association, refuses to listen to 
the schemes of his bookkeeper (J. Carrol Naish) to go into 
other .fields in order to make more money. When he gives 
orders to Naish to have Anthony Quinn, a racketeer who 
had double-crossed him, killed, Naish decides to do other- 
wise. Instead of killing Quinn, he plots with him to kill 
Tamiroff so that they could take over the business. They 
shoot Tamiroff, but do not kill him ; he is rushed to the 
hospital, where Anna May Wong, a surgeon, operates on 
him and saves his life. Knowing how her father had hated 
Tamiroff, she feared lest he had committed the shooting; 
she later learns that he was innocent. Tamiroff insists that 
she personally take care of him. During his illness, Naish 
and Quinn run the business along gangster lines, causing 
many deaths. When Tamiroff is ready to go home, he in- 
duces Miss Wong to accompany him there. Under her in- 
fluence, he changes for the better. He asks her to marry 
him, offering to live a decent life; but she refuses, for she 
was set on going to China to do relief work. He gives her 
a check for $5,000 to continue with her work. When Naish 
confronts him with a gun one night, Tamiroff becomes 
excited and suffers a heart attack ; he dies. 

Herbert Hibernian wrote the story, and Lillie Hayward 
and Irving Reis, the screen play; Nicke Grinde directed it. 
In the cast are Roscoe Karns, Bernadene Hayes, Sidney 
Toler, Philip Ahn, and others. 

Unsuitable for children. Class B. 



March 25, 1939 



HARRISON'S REPORTS 



47 



"My Son Is a Criminal" with Alan Baxter, 
Jacqueline Wells and Gordon Oliver 

(Columbia, February 22; time, 59 min.) 

A fair program gangster melodrama, with human ap- 
peal. The action is fast and exciting. The situation towards 
the end where a father is compelled to kill his own son, a 
criminal, in order to prevent him from harming others is 
quite powerful. This scene is played by Willard Robertson, 
as the father, and Alan Baxter, as the son, with artistry ; 
they touch one's heartstrings. The plot is developed logi- 
cally ; it has a romantic touch, and only slight comic relief : 

Robertson, upon retiring from police service, tells his son 
(Baxter) that he was looking forward to the day when he 
would join the force. Baxter keeps putting him off with the 
excuse that, when his garage was on a better paying basis, 
he might consider becoming a policeman. But Baxter, un- 
known to his father, was carrying on a life of crime, using 
the garage as a front. In a clever way, he obtains informa- 
tion about police activities, without any one's suspecting 
him. Even Jacqueline Wells, his fiance, was unaware of 
Baxter's doings. But Gordon Oliver, Baxter's best friend, 
who was connected with the police department, eventually 
discovers the truth, and passes the information on to Miss 
Wells' father, who had taken Robertson's place. He is 
heartbroken, knowing what it would mean to Robertson. 
Baxter, who was carrying out his last job before retiring, 
looks forward to a life of leisure. But the police surround 
the building where the robbery was taking place ; they are 
followed there by Robertson who, although retired, wanted 
to take a hand in the capture of the notorious criminal. 
Being the one who confronts his son, he is compelled to 
kill him. Oliver, realizing what a noble thing Robertson 
had done, leads every one but Miss Wells and her father to 
believe that Baxter had been killed trying to help his 
father capture the criminal. 

Arthur T. Horman wrote the screen play, and C. C. 
Coleman, Jr., directed it. In the cast are Joseph King, 
Eddie Laughton, John Tyrrell, and others. 

Unsuitable for children. Adult fare. Class B. 

"Love Affair" with Irene Dunne 
and Charles Boyer 

(RKO, April 7 ; time, 88 min.) 
Excellent entertainment. It is a romantic drama, directed 
and acted with great skill. Starting off in a light mood, it 
is highly amusing in the first half, because of the witty 
dialogue and of the charming romance. But it gradually 
becomes serious, turning into an emotion-stirring drama, 
the kind that is certain to cause tears. There are several 
memorable situations. One of the most delightful is that in 
which Miss Dunne and Boyer visit his grandmother ( Maria 
Ouspenskaya) ; the acting by the three performers is so 
perfect there that one is touched deeply. The closing scenes 
are powerful. Miss Dunne sings two numbers: — 

While on her way back from Europe, Miss Dunne, a 
sophisticated New Yorker, who was supported in luxury 
by her wealthy fiance (Lee Bowman), meets Charles 
Boyer, an aristocratic French artist, an idler, who was on 
his way to New York to marry wealthy Astrid Allwyn. 
After a stopover at Madeira, where Boyer takes Miss 
Dunne to meet his charming grandmother, who lived in 
seclusion, they suddenly realize that they loved each other. 
In order to test their love, they give themselves six months 
in which to prove that they could both earn an honest liv- 
ing ; they arrange to meet at a certain place at a specified 
time. At the appointed time. Miss Dunne, happy, rushes to 
meet Boyer; but she meets with an accident, which leaves 
her crippled. Not wishing to be a burden to Boyer, she 
refuses to permit Bowman to notify him; instead, she goes 
on bravely earning a living by teaching music. Boyer, 
ignorant of her injury, goes back to ICurope heart-broken, 
only to find that his grandmother had died. Upon his return 
to New York, he sees Miss Dunne at the theatre with 
Bowman and misunderstands ; be still does not know that 
she was crippled. Unable to resist the temptation of visit inn 
her, he calls on her. While talking to her about his develop- 
ment as a painter, he tells her that he had ordered his agent 
to give his best painting to a girl who liked it, for she was 
poor and crippled. Suddenly it dawns on him that perhaps 
she was the girl and, looking into the next room, he finds 
the painting. With tears in his eyes, he embraces Miss 
Dunne, promising to take care of her. 

Mildred McCram and Leo McCarey wrote the story, and 
Delmar Daves and Donald Ogden Stewart, the screen play ; 
Leo McCarey directed and produced it. In the cast are 
Maurice Moscovich, and others. 

Suitability, Class A. 



"Midnight" with Claudette Colbert 
and Don Ameche 

(Paramount, March 24; time, 93 min.) 
A sophisticated comedy, with an extremely lavish pro- 
duction, suitable particularly for the class trade. Consider- 
ing the fact that farcical comedies have of late not been 
going over so well, its appeal, as to story values, is natu- 
rally limited. The popularity of the leading players, who, 
incidentally, give excellent performances, may, however, 
make it a good box-office attraction. The story itself is far- 
fetched, slightly silly in spots, and lacking in human appeal, 
for not one of the characters does anything to awaken 
sympathy : — 

Claudette Colbert arrives from Monte Carlo in Paris 
dressed in an evening gown, but without any money ; she 
had lost it all gambling. Don Ameche, a taxicab driver, 
feeling sorry for her, asks her to get into his cab out of the 
rain. In an effort to obtain a position for her as an enter- 
tainer, he takes her to several cafes, but without success. 
Eventually she runs away from him. While passing a fash- 
ionable house where guests were arriving, she decides to 
enter, giving a pawnticket instead of an invitation as a 
means of admittance. The guard at the door is not aware of 
the deception. She introduces herself as a Countess; but 
John Barrymore, one of the guests, is wise to her. He helps 
her along by paying her gambling debts at a bridge game. 
One of the guests (Francis Lederer), a wealthy young 
man, who had been having an affair with Barrymore's wife 
(Mary Astor), is charmed by Miss Colbert. He offers to 
take her home. In Barrymore's presence she gives the name 
of a fashionable hotel. YvTien she arrives there, she finds, to 
her amazement, that rooms had been reserved for her. And 
the next morning, trunks filled with beautiful clothes ar- 
rive. Barrymore visits her and explains that he was her 
benefactor ; in doing this, his purpose was to have her lure 
Lederer away from his wife. They all go to Barrymore's 
country estate, where everything works out well, until Miss 
Astor, who was jealous, becomes suspicious. Just as she was 
to denounce Miss Colbert, Ameche, who had found out 
where she had gone, arrives, posing as her titled husband ; 
it so happened that he was a distance relative of the man 
he was impersonating. He tries to force Miss Colbert to 
leave with him, but she refuses, leading every one to believe 
that Ameche was subject to fits of insanity. Eventually she 
succumbs, giving up her chances to marry wealthy Lederer 
in order to marry Ameche. 

William H. Post wrote the story, and Don Hartman, 
Frank Butler, and Preston Sturges, the screen play ; Elliott 
Nugent directed it, and Paul Jones produced it. In the cast 
are Elaine Barrie, Rex O'Malley, and Hedda Hopper. 

Somewhat suggestive for children. Adult fare. Class B. 



"The Mystery of Mr. Wong" 
with Boris Karloff 

(Monogr am, yiarch 8; time t G7 mm.) 
A fairly good program murder-mystery melodrama, with 
pretty good production values and capable performances. It 
is a straight melodrama, with no comic relief. Even though 
one suspects the murderer's identity, one's interest is held, 
for he is not identified until the end. The action is fast and 
at times exciting. Boris Karloff, continuing in the part of 
the Oriental detective, plays it with convinction. The ro- 
mantic involvements are of minor importance: — 

Karloff, a Chinese detective, guest at the party given by 
Morgan Wallace and his wife (Dorothy Tree), offers his 
services to the police when Wallace is murdered mysteri- 
ously during the playing of a game. Grant Withers, police 
inspector, suspects Craig Reynolds, Wallace's secretary, 
who was in love with Miss Tree and had resented the way 
Wallace had mistreated her. But Karloff is convinced that 
Reynolds was innocent. Wallace, who felt that he would be 
murdered, had left a letter naming the man who he sus- 
pected would kill him; this letter is stolen from the sate by 
a Chinese servant. A valuable jewel Wallace had owned 
also is missing. Karloff finally solves the case by proving 
that Holmes Herbert, a famous criminologist and an old 
friend, had committed the murder. Herbert confesses. Miss 
Tree, who had considered Herbert a very dear friend, is 
heartbroken ; she is comforted by Reynolds. 

Hugh Wiley wrote the story, and Scott Darling, the 
screen play; William Nigh directed it, and William Lackey 
produced it. In the cast are Ivan Lebedeff, Hooper Atchley, 
Lee Tong Foo, and others. 

Not for children; adult fare. Class B. 



48 



HARRISON'S REPORTS 



March 25, 1939 



THE SPEECH ALLIED PRESIDENT 
COLE MADE AT THE MGM 
SALES CONVENTION 

Col. H. A. Cole, president of Allied Slates Association, 
was invited by Bill Rodgers, General Manager of Distribu- 
tion of Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, to attend the sales conven- 
tion of their organization, which was held in Chicago on 
March 21, and was naturally asked to speak. 

W hat Mr. Cole said there was so sensible that HARRI- 
SON'S Repokts has decided to reproduce his entire speech, 
even though it is compelled to print it in two installments 
because of lack of space ; it feels that, not only the exhibi- 
tors, but also the distributors will profit from reading and 
digesting it : 

"In view of what has taken place in the motion picture 
industry during the past ten years, it is a notable occasion 
when the President of Allied Stales Association addresses 
the sales convention of one of the foremost producing and 
distributing companies. That this should be regarded as 
unusual instead of commonplace is the result of an unfortu- 
nate misunderstanding regarding the policies and objectives 
of Allied which in turn is due to lack of contact I doubt 
whether I would have been invited here today if it had not 
been that Bill Rodgers and I have been sitting at the con- 
ference table in recent months. Our minds may not have 
met on all the problems that the conference attempted to 
deal with, it may be that some of us wish the conference 
could have dealt with additional and more fundamental 
problems, but we did get acquainted. The walls of Jericho 
began to crumble when Bill addressed our national conven- 
tion in Pittsburgh last May ; there was a breach in the 
walls when Bill came before our Board of Directors in 
January ; I had no difficulty in gaining admittance to the 
Metro citadel today. 

"It is no secret that when Allied was formed ten years 
ago certain elements among — but not of — the producer- 
distributors, finding that they could not dominate the new 
exhibitor organization, sought to insulate the company 
executives against all contact with the Allied leaders. It 
suited their selfish purpose that those executives should 
form their estimates of Allied and Allied leaders, not from 
first-hand information but from reports, rumors and slan- 
ders which they — the politicians — conveyed to them. Conse- 
quently, Allied leaders have been belabored with such 
epithets as 'reds,' 'radicals' and 'soap-box orators' and 
liave been denounced as destructive, untrustworthy and 
otherw-ise undeserving of consideration. I had supposed that 
after ten years of yelling across the ramparts, the supply 
of names had been exhausted, but the latest to emanate 
from the concentration camp of the bitter-enders is 'sav- 
ages.' I would like to live up to this name and entertain 
you with a war-whoop, but actually I am a very mild- 
mannered person. 

"Now the reaction to this quarantine and to all the abuse, 
was swift and certain. Allied leaders found that the door to 
the throne room was closed to them and that there was no 
redress for grievances. They were men of spirit and each 
obstacle placed in their path made them all the more deter- 
mined. Hearing from the industry politicians that they 
would never be 'recognized,' they set up a little revolu- 
tion in the streets. Patriotic Americans will recall an his- 
toric precedent for this. Since it was apparent that they 
would have to fight, they entered the fray with a will, and 
no one will say that they pulled their punches. In the matter 
of name-calling, they abundantly held up their end. In fact, 
some of them displayed talents which they did not them- 
selves know they possessed. Thus were ten long years 
frittered away : ten trying years which called for the free 
exercise of all the ability and experience that could be mus- 
tered in all branches of the industry ; ten years during 
which team work and cooperation would have saved the 
industry from its present precarious situation. 

"Tiie pity of it is that the bitter experiences of the doleful 
decade have made the task of appeasement so much more 
difficult. Privileges based on economic power have come to 
be regarded as matters of right. Suspicion and distrust bred 
by lack of contact and understanding and fostered by abuse 
and misrepresentation arc not lightly shed. If Rome was 
not built in a day, neither can it be rebuilt in a day. De- 
votees of the old order still snap at the heels of those who 
would bring about a better understanding. It is hard to 
maintain confidence at a disarmament conference while one 
party is secretly scuttling the ships of the other party. The 



task of reconciliation is much more difficult than it would 
have been a few years ago and, in the minds of some, the 
effort is not being pressed with the determination or in the 
spirit that they had hoped for. But all must agree that the 
experiment is worth making; that it is a step in the right 
direction. 

"The mere fact that I as the president of Allied am here 
today is in itself cogent evidence that the foolish barriers 
that were erected in 1929 are being broken down. Let the 
authors of the old order, the promoters of hatred and dis- 
trust, sulk in their tents; they can not prevent the new era 
of confidence, mutual respect and cooperation which will 
come, sooner or later, whether they like it or not. 

"One of the serious obstacles to a better understanding is 
that during the era of bad feeling labels were pinned on 
certain persons and organizations, and these persist. The 
politicians were so industrious in pinning the red label on 
Allied that some company executives have professed to 
believe tliat it was rightly bestowed. The lightest utter- 
ances of Allied spokesmen often are given an interpretation 
which conforms to pre-conceived characterizations. Re- 
cently in an informal conversation regarding the decision 
of the Supreme Court in the Interstate Case, I suggested 
that it might he a good idea to recorsider the entire pro- 
tection situation in the light of that decision. I even sug- 
gested tliat we might start at the very beginning and con- 
sider whether protection />er se is a good tiling. These were 
gambits intended to promote and lend animation to the 
discussion. 1 was shocked to read in the trade press that I 
had advocated the abolition of all protection. Next I began 
to receive letters protesting against the proposed campaign 
by Allied to abolish all protection. Finally (and this illus- 
trates the point), I read in the trade papers that I had 
repeated my supposed declaration ag..it st all protection in 
my recent speech before a group of women in Boston, al- 
though I did not once refer to tliat subject in the course of 
my address. 

"I want to say to you with all the force I can command 
that Allied has not been a radical or a destructive element 
in this business. Calvin Coolidge — no radical — once advised 
the younger generation that it sfruld ttot hesitate to be 
'as conservative as the multiplication table or as radical as 
science.' I say to you that Allied has I>een 'as conservative 
as the chamber of commerce and as radical as the laws and 
policies of the United States.' In spite of all the rames that 
have been hurled at our heads, 1 challenge anyone to cite 
an instance where we have advocated measures that were 
not necessary to Jar the producer-distributors out of their 
isolation and indifference in order that admitted abuses 
might be remedied, or where Allied has not had a construc- 
tive program to offer in lieu if the policies and practices 
attacked. 

"History teaches that progress follows in the wake of 
what has invariably been termed 'agitation.' The roster of 
the world's greatest leaders is made up of so-called agita- 
tors. Conspicuously missing are the names of those who 
resisted all progress and made no greater contribution than 
to heap abuse on the heads of those who pleaded for a 
better order. Of course, th'- merit which an 'agitator' may 
obtain depends upon the v. orth of the cause he espouses. I 
think that the cause of the independent exhibitors is a 
worthy one ; that when our objectives are achieved, re- 
gardless of the means, the industry as a whole will be the 
beneficiary. It is no small satisfaction and comfort to us 
that otir cause has been championed by the Government 
which we all love and which we all agree is the noblest 
that ever has been devised. 

"But I was not invited, nor d'd I come, to talk generali- 
ties. Let me, therefore, discuss a few of the practical prob- 
lems in which you as sellers of motion pictures and I as a 
buyer are interested. In our respective relationships we are 
immediately confronted by a clash of interest. You want to 
sell for as much and I want to buy for as little as possible. 
This is inescapable and, if held within due bounds, is 
healthful. It is the life of trade. But for this civilized form 
of warfare to be waged with the best results, it is necessary 
that both parties be free agents. The law recognizes that 
when one party to a supposed contract has been induced to 
sign by fraud, coercion or duress, there is no contract. The 
abused party can not be held. But if he must have the prod- 
ucts that are the subjects of the contract, if he can not get 
them elsewhere under better terms, then the coercion and 
duress may be very real and yet he can not repudiate the 
contract because to do so he would have to forego the 
products which he must have. 

(To be concluded next uvck) 



Entered as second-class matter January 4, 1921, at the post office at New York, New York, under the act of March 2, 1S79. 



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Vol. XXI SATURDAY, APRIL 1, 1939 No. 13 



WILL YOU AID THE GOVERNMENT 
WITH THE INFORMATION IT 
NEEDS FOR THE SUIT? 

I happened to be reading the other day a transcript of the 
testimony at the trial of the case brought by Paramount 
against the State of North Dakota to nullify the Theatre 
Divorce Law, and I was so struck by the testimony of Mr. 
Austin Keough, Paramount attorney, who was one of the 
witnesses, that I decided to reproduce part of it. I believe 
that it should be of interest to every independent tlieatre 
owner, for it indicates how some major executives feel 
about exhibitors who make an attempt to protect what they 
feel are their rights (a few preliminary questions and an- 
swers are omitted) : 

"A. [Keough] . . . Between that date [December 27, 
1923] and September, 1929, Paramount had no interest in 
the Saenger Amusement Company or any other Saenger 
Company. Sometime between 1923 and 1929, September 
1929, the Saenger Company acquired a 50 per cent interest 
in the stock of the Jefferson Amusement Company. I don't 
believe that the Saenger Company had that 50 per cent 
interest in the Jefferson Amusement Company at the time 
between 1919 or 1920, and 1923, when Paramount had its 
first interest (40%) in the Saenger Company. 

"Q. [Thacher, representing Paramount, the plaintiff.] 
You had personal knowledge of these transactions when 
they occurred? 

"A. I did. 

"Q. As counsel for the company ? 

"A. As counsel for the company, and in handling, in the 
first place, the disposition of the 40 per cent interest back 
to the Saenger Company, or its other stockholders, and 
later in the acquisition by Paramount of the stock of the 
Saegner Amusement Company in 1929. 

"Q. There lias been some testimony in regard to a situa- 
tion in Victoria. Did you have any knowledge of the first 
acquisition that Colonel Cole testified to? 

"A. I did. 

"Q. Will you state what that situation was? 

"A. In the year 1931, that is the best recollection I have 
of the precise time, the Jefferson Amusement Company in 
which then Paramount had a 50 per cent interest through 
the Paramount ownership of practically all of the stock of 
the Saenger Amusement Company, without the knowledge 
or consent of anyone representing Paramount or the Saen- 
ger Theatres, went into Victoria and acquired a theatre and 
started to operate it. Paramount learned of that promptly 
after it had occurred. Paraniount's general sales manager, 
Mr. George Schaefer, immediately conferred with me as 
counsel for Paramount, about the right of the Jefferson 
Amusement Company to go into such a town, or go into 
any town without the approval of the Hoard of Directors 
of the company, the Jefferson Amusement Company, and, 
further, as to the right of Paramount to distribute its pic- 
tures to such theatre in Victoria as it wished to do, and 
as a result of that conference with me, Mr. Schaefer, in 
collaboration with me, addressed a letter to Messrs. 
Cordon & Clemens, declaring our displeasure of going into 
the town and announcing we were going to continue to 
serve Mr. Frels with Paramount pictures in Victoria. 

"Q. Were Gordon & Clemens managing the Jefferson 
Company ? 

"A. They were to have out four directors and one was 
the president and the other the chairman of the board of 
directors and they were the stockholders of the other 50 
per cent interest. [P'ditor's Note: Answer not clear.] 



"Q. And you continued to furnish Paramount Pictures 
to Mr. Frels until when ? 

"A. For two full seasons after that. I think the last time 
was beginning with the season of 1933-34, when we didn't 
sell Paramount Pictures to Frels out in Victoria. 

"Q. Have you any personal knowledge as to the reason 
why you didn't ? 

"A. Again by conference with Mr. George Schaefer, the 
suit of Legg against various companies, including Para- 
mount, had been started, and we were informed that Mr. 
Frels had participated in the planning of the suit and in its 
financing, and we felt that that was a very ungrateful thing 
for him to do to Paramount, and we decided not to sell him 
the pictures. 

"Q. After that experience did you and Mr. Schaefer 
regard him as a desirable customer? 

"A. We regarded him as an ungrateful customer. 

"Q. I said, did you regard him as a desirable customer? 

"A. In the sense that we thought him ungrateful we felt 
that he was not a desirable customer to do business with." 

Judge Devaney, attorney for the Minnesota exhibitor 
organization, representing the State of North Dakota, 
cross-examined Mr. Keough. After asking several ques- 
tions, he led him up to the following: 

"Q- [Judge Devaney] Because Mr. Frels had had the 
temerity to contribute to that suit, that was such an inci- 
dent of ingratitude that compelled you to discontinue doing 
business with him at Victoria, is that true or false? 

"A. [Austin Keough] Contribute to the suit, under the 
circumstances, when he should have known that the charges 
against Paramount, with whom he was doing business, 
were false. 

"Q. You wanted him to pre-judge that? 
"A. I wanted him to be a little careful about what he 
rushed into court with. 

"Q. It is purely a question of these men with whom you 
do business being careful with Paramount. 

"A. Oh, no, not to be careful with Paramount, but to be 
careful of reckless statements or untrue statements that arc 
made concerning Paramount. 

"Q. And to be careful not to incur the displeasure of 
Paramount ? 

"A. If displeasure of Paramount is incurred because of 
false and reckless statements, yes 1 

"Q. You concluded that Mr. Frels had made some state- 
ments that were either reckless or false, and you shut off 
this source of supply that he had enjoyed at Victoria, 
Texas, for many years? 

"A. Quite right. 

"Q. You heard the statement made in the court room 
here that many exhibitors had contributed to this litigation, 
did you? 

"A. Yes. 

"Mr. Dkvanv: That is all. 
"Mk. Thacher: That is all." 

Though the object of Mr. Keotighs testimony was to 
prove to the Court that the film service was shut oil from 
Mr. Frels. not because Paramount is a monopoly, but be- 
cause Mr. Frels proved ungrateful, what was really dis- 
closed was the fact that a moving picture wholesaler, who 
at the same time is a retailer, competing with his customer, 
has it in his power to put that customer out of business, by 
merely shutting off his film service. 

(Continued on last paye) 



50 



HARRISON'S REPORTS 



April 1, 1939 



"Sudden Money" with Charlie Ruggles 
and Marjorie Rambeau 

(Paramount, March 31 ; time, 60 min.) 
Just a mildly entertaining program comedy. The story is 
so thin that after the first half it peters out, turning into a 
silly comedy. The idea is all right — that of several members 
of a family trying to follow their particular talents after 
they win a sweepstakes prize ; but the means they choose to 
express themselves are bad — they are silly. For instance, the 
mother (Marjorie Rambeau) takes to painting, at which 
she is quite terrible. She lets herself be influenced by two 
crooks, who eventually steal her share of the winnings. The 
father (Charlie Ruggles) finds his old college friends and 
forms a band. They are so bad that they cannot obtain en- 
gagements, and so he is compelled to pay their salaries. 
When they finally do get an engagement, a gangster, mis- 
taking Ruggles' interest in the young lady who sang with 
his band, beats him up and puts an end to the job. Then 
Ruggles puts up bail of $2,500 for John Gallaudet, one of 
his players, who was wanted by the police; Gallaudet then 
runs away. Ruggles' money is all gone. His brother-in-law 
(Broderick Crawford), who thought he had a good system 
on horse-betting, soon loses his share. And Ruggles' young 
daughter, who had gone to an expensive finishing school, 
spends all her money. In a way they are all happy when the 
money is gone, for their lives had been disrupted by sudden 
wealth. They go back to their ordinary tasks and do not 
complain. 

. Milton Lazarus wrote the story, and Lewis Foster, the 
screen play; Nick Grinde directed it, and Wm. C. Thomas 
produced it. In the cast are Charley Grapewin, Billy Lee, 
Evelyn Keyes, Philip Warren, Joyce Mathews, and Richard 
Tucker. 

Suitability, Class A. 



"Hound of the Baskervilles" with 
Richard Greene, Basil Rathbone 
and Wendy Barrie 

(20//; Century-Fox , March 31 ; time, 79 min.) 
A pretty good Sherlock Holmes melodrama. Produced 
twice before, once in 1922 and again in 1932, it still offers 
entertainment for followers of murder mysteries. The pro- 
duction values are, of course, superior to those of the other 
two pictures. The background (that of the lonely British 
moors ) , creates an eerie atmosphere, so that each time a 
character wanders out of the house for a walk, one is held 
in suspense, not knowing what to expect. Although one 
suspects the murderer's identity, this does not lessen one's 
interest, for along with him there are several other suspi- 
cious characters. It is in the ending, however, that the action 
causes tense excitement. The scenes that show the vicious 
■dog running across the moors in an attempt to overtake 
and attack the hero, are thrilling as well as frightening. 
The romance is pleasant. 

In the development of the plot, Richard Greene, who had 
lived in Canada, arrives in London to claim the title and 
estate left by his uncle, who had presumably died from 
heart failure. Lionel Atwill, the doctor who had attended 
the deceased, believing that he had been murdered, and 
fearing for Greene's safety, calls on Basil Rathbone (Sher- 
lock Holmes) for his advice. Rathbone sends his assistant 
( Nigel Bruce) with Atwill and Greene, to act as protector, 
promising to follow within a few days. Instead, he g es 
there disguised as an old peddler, so as to carry on his 
investigation unhampered. Greene meets and falls in love 
with Wendy Barrie, a neighbor : they plan to marry. Eve<-v 
one in the neighborhood is mystified by the noise of a howl- 
ing dog; being superstitious, they trace it to an old legend 
regarding Greene's ancestors, many of whom had met with 
violent deaths. While on his way home from Miss Barrie's, 
across the moors. Greene is set upon by a vicious dog. The 
timely arrival of Rathbone and Bruce saves his life; thev 
kill the dog. Rathbone then proves that Miss Barrie's step- 
brother, a unknown member of Greene's family, had com- 
mitted the murder and had attempted to murder Greene in 
an effort to prove his claim to the estate ; he admits it and, 
despite an effort to escape, he is arrested. With the threat 
of death lifted, Greene looks forward to a happy life with 
Miss Barrie. 

The plot was adapted from the story by Sir Arthur 
Conan Doyle. Ernest Pascal wrote the screen play, Sidney 
Lanfield directed it, and Gene Markey produced it. In the 
cast are John Carradine, Barlowe Borland, Beryl Mercer, 
Ralph Forbes, and others. 

It may frighten children. Best for adults. Class B. 



"Sergeant Madden" with Wallace Beery, 
Tom Brown, Alan Curtis and Laraine Day 

(MGM, March 24 ; time, 80 min.) 

A good program melodrama, with human appeal. The 
story is strengthened considerably by the expert perform- 
ances of the entire cast ; particularly good is Laraine Day, 
a newcomer, who shows marked talent. Although the plot 
is concerned primarily with the bravery of policemen in 
their contact with criminals and with their loyalty to their 
duties, it has another angle — that of a father-son conflict. 
It is from the latter that the picture derives its power. The 
closing scenes, in which the father, a policeman, tries to 
capture his own son, who had turned criminal, are touch- 
ing ; but they may prove too harrowing for women : — 

Wallace Beery, a Sergeant on the New York police 
force, looks forward to the day when his son (Alan Curtis) 
and his adopted son (Tom Brown) would be policemen. 
Curtis, being older, graduates first and joins the force. He 
marries Laraine Day, a young Irish girl, who, after her 
mother's death, had left Ireland to live with Beery and his 
family, old friends. Curtis is headstrong and ambitious ; he 
is eager to make a place for himself on the force. In line 
with his duty, he shoots and kills a young hoodlum who 
had stolen a cheap piece of fur from a shop ; but this brings 
him clown in the estimation of his superior, who did not 
believe in killing young boys. Beery tries to argue with 
Curtis, but to no avail ; as a matter of fact, Curtis is so 
annoyed that he insists that his wife leave with him, for 
an apartment of their own. Since she was going to have a 
baby, she felt her place was with her husband. Marc Law- 
rence, a gangster, plans to get even with Curtis, for the 
boy who had been killed was his girl-friend's brother. He 
frames Curtis on a serious charge ; Curtis is tried and sen- 
tenced to prison. While on the way there he escapes, with 
the guard's gun. In the meantime, Beery, who knew his 
son had been framed, pleads with Lawrence to clear him ; 
he promises to do so. Curtis goes wild — he does not hesi- 
tate to steal and to kill people ; and the police are unable to 
trap him. Beery, knowing that Curtis would want to see his 
new-born son, has an item broadcast about the birth of his 
grandson. Curtis appears at the hospital and is trapped; 
heartbroken at the mess he had gotten himself into, Curtis 
purposely shoots his gun into the air. The police open fire 
and kill him. Miss Day is comforted by Brown, who loved 
her. 

Wm. A. Ulman, Jr., wrote the story, and Wells Root, the 
screen play ; Josef VonSternberg directed it. and J. Walter 
Ruben produced it. In the cast are Fay Holden, Marion 
Martin, Ben Weklen, and others. 

Unsuitable for children. Class B. 



"My Wife's Relatives" with James Gleason 
and Lucile Gleason 

(Republic, March 20: time, 64 min.) 

A fair follow-up to the first "Higgins Family" picture. 
It has action, fair comedy, and some human appeal. But the 
actions of the characters are at times so silly that they tire 
one. Harry Davenport, as the outspoken grandfather who 
resists the advances of a woman seeking to marry him, is 
the most likeable character : — 

When his employer (Purnell Pratt) orders him to put 
a stop to the romance between his daughter and Pratt's 
son, James Gleason becomes angry and resigns ; he decides 
to go into the candy business for himself. But things do not 
run very smoothly ; he is beset by creditors, particularly by 
a man from whom he had bought a diamond ring on the 
installment plan. He promises to return the ring ; but when 
he asks his wife for it she confesses that she had lost it at 
the factory. Gleason's son (Russell Gleason) is certain that 
it had been wrapped in with a bar of chocolate. He inserts 
an advertisement in the newspapers offering a reward for 
the return of the ring; but he lists the reward as $5,000 
instead of $50. This naturally brings about a rush of busi- 
ness ; but the District Attorney visits Gleason and demands 
that he deposit the amount of the reward, which Gleason 
cannot do. Davenport, in an effort to save Gleason, offers 
to marry wealthy Maude Eburne. But he is saved from 
doing this, for the ring is found at home, and Pratt's son 
arranges matters so as to make it appear to the authorities 
as if he had found it. He and Gleason decide to continue in 
the business as partners. Gleason gives his consent to the 
marriage. 

Dorrell and Stuart MacGowan wrote the original screen 
play ; Gus Meins directed it, and Sol Siegel produced it. In 
the cast are Mary Hart, Tommy Ryan, Marjorie Gateson, 
and others. 

Suitability, Class A. 



April 1, 1939 



HARRISON'S REPORTS 



51 



"Three Smart Girls Grow Up" with Deanna 
Durbin, Charles Grapewin, Nan Grey 
and Helen Parrish 

(Universal, March 24 ; time, 87 mm.) 

Excellent I It is a credit to the ability of Joe Pasternak, 
the producer, and of Henry Koster, the director. The story 
is charming, combining comedy with human appeal ; the 
performances are unusually good, and the music, as sung 
by Deanna Durbin, is, of course, of the highest order. In 
addition, the production is most lavish. But what is most 
important is the fact that Miss Durbin is still her own 
delightful self — young, exuberant, and simple, despite the 
advertisements stressing her glamour. Her actions are at 
times the cause for hearty laughter, because of the naive 
way in which she goes about trying to adjust the lives of 
her sisters ; but they are at no time objectionable. Although 
Miss Durbin is the outstanding player, she has been given 
excellent support by a well-chosen cast : — 

When her sister (Nan Grey) becomes engaged to Wil- 
liam Lundigan, Deanna is heartbroken, for she realized 
that her other sister (Helen Parrish) loved him. Since her 
mother (Nella Walker) would not listen to her, and her 
father (Charles Winninger) was too busy with his broker- 
age business to bother with home affairs, Deanna decides 
to take matters into her hands. Following the suggestion of 
the family butler (Ernest Cossart), she sets about looking 
for a good looking young man who could attract Miss 
Parrish. She finds him in the person of Robert Cummings, 
a young musician, who practiced in a studio adjacent to 
the one where she took her singing lessons. She invites him 
to dinner ; but to Deanna's anger, he "falls" for Miss Grey 
instead of for Miss Parrish. In the presence of every one, 
she berates him and orders him out ; naturally they all 
think she was in love with Cummings and had acted that 
way because of jealousy. She makes matters worse by try- 
ing to interfere further. On the day before the wedding, 
which she knew was bringing sorrow to all, for Miss Grey 
really loved Cummings, she goes, in despair, to her father's 
office, where she bursts into tears. He finally listens to her. 
By sending Miss Grey off with Cummings on the wedding 
day and by taking Miss Parrish to the altar, he adjusts 
everything. Thus once again every one is happy. 

Bruce Manning and Felix Jackson wrote the original 
screen play. 

Class A. 



"Within the Law" with Ruth Hussey, 
Tom Neal and Paul Kelly 

(MGM, March 17 ; time, 64 min.) 

A fair program melodrama. Produced three times before, 
first, in 1917, then in 1923, and the last time in 1935 under 
the title "Paid," with Joan Crawford as the star, its appeal 
will be directed mostly to those who did not see the last 
version. For those who saw it, this one will naturally lack 
novelty, since very few changes have been made in the plot ; 
furthermore, it suffers by comparison with "Paid," in that 
the performances are not so good. It has, however, some 
human appeal because of the sympathy one feels for the 
heroine, who, although innocent, is sent to prison. And the 
romance is appealing : — 

Ruth Hussey, released from prison after having served a 
three year term for a crime she had not committed, is em- 
bittered. Determined to avenge herself upon Samuel Hinds, 
the owner of the store where she worked, and who had 
prosecuted her, she joins forces with Rita Johnson, her 
former cellmate, who was connected with a gang of crooks, 
headed by Paul Kelly. Miss Hussey, who had studied law 
during her imprisonment, and who knew how to commit 
crimes and yet keep within the law, becomes the leader of 
the gang ; they prosper. She becomes acquainted with 
Hinds' son (Tom Neal) and, after a short friendship, she 
marries him, in that way balancing the score with Hinds; 
but she leaves Neal. When their funds are tied up by an 
injunction obtained by Hinds, Kelly, without consulting 
Miss Hussey, agrees to work with Paul Cavanagh, a mem- 
ber of the gang, on a robbery job; Kelly is unaware that 
Cavanagh had turned stool pigeon and that he had been 
working with the police so as to trap Kelly and Miss 
Hussey. When Miss Hussey learns what bad happened, she 
rushes after the two men, who had gone to Hinds' home to 
steal a supposedly valuable picture. Neal finds them there ; 
he tells Kelly that the picture was worthless. Kelly then 
understands everything; he kills Cavanagh and escapes. 
When the police arrive, Miss Hussey claims that Neal had 
committed the murder in self defense; but eventually Kelly 
confesses, clearing Neal. Sorry for everything she had 
done, Miss Hussey apologizes to Neal; they are reconciled 
with Hinds' approval. 



The plot was adapted from the play by Bayard Veiller ; 
Charles Lederer and Edith Fitzgerald wrote the screen 
play, and Gustav Machaty directed it. In the cast are 
William Gargan, Lynne Carver, Sidney Blackmer, and 
others. 

Not for children. Class B. 



"Mystery of the White Room" with Bruce 
Cabot and Helen Mack 

(Universal, March 17; time, 58 min.) 

A fair program murder mystery melodrama. Followers 
of mystery melodramas should find it to their liking, since 
it keeps the murderer's identity concealed ; several persons 
are suspected, but it is not until the end that the guilty 
person is exposed. In-between the sleuthing, there is ro- 
mance and comedy ; but the latter is of the silly kind that 
proves somewhat annoying : — 

Bruce Cabot, a doctor at a hospital, becomes interested 
in helping Thomas Jackson, police sergeant, solve the mur- 
der of Addison Richards, who had been the chief doctor of 
the hospital. Cabot's fiancee (Helen Mack), a nurse, offers 
her help. Suspicion falls on Roland Drew and even on 
Cabot himself, for they had been rivals for an important 
post at the hospital ; also on Frank Reicher, a doctor, whose 
right arm had been rendered useless by an oneration per- 
formed by Richards. Joan Woodbury, who had been Rich- 
ards' private secretary, is another who is suspected. When 
Frank Puglia, the janitor, sees some one in the hospital 
pharmacy, he greets the person, who throws acid in his 
face; as a result he loses his speech and goes blind. Cabot 
conceives of using Puglia as the lure to trap the murderer. 
The scheme works, and Puglia, who had regained his 
sight through an operation, points to Miss Woodbury as 
the murderess. She confesses that she had committed the 
murder because of jealousy. 

James G. Edwards wrote the story, and Alex Gottlieb, 
the screen play ; Otis Garrett directed it, and Irving Starr 
produced it. In the cast are Constance Worth, Mabel Todd, 
Tom Dugan, and others. 

Unsuitable for children. Class B. 



"Almost a Gentleman" with James Ellison 
and Helen Wood 

(RKO, March 31 ; time, 64 min.) 
A fair program drama, suitable mostly for those who 
enjoy pictures about dogs. The dog in this case shows 
amazing intelligence, and plays an important part, for it is 
through this animal that the hero is finally regenerated. 
The hero, because of his actions, which are motivated by a 
desire for revenge, fails to win one's sympathy ; as a matter 
of fact his surliness tends to depress the spectator. There is 
some excitement in the closing scenes, where the dog leads 
police to the hideout of kidnappers. The romance is pleas- 
ant : — 

Returning to his home town after a few years' absence, 
James Ellison enters his house through a window. Helen 
Wood, who had leased the house from an agent and did not 
know Ellison, believes him to be a burglar. She calls for 
the Sheriff, and has Ellison arrested. The matter is. of 
course, cleared up the following morning, and Miss Wood 
apologizes. Ellison, who had taken a fancy to a dog that 
was locked up in the pound, is particularly eager to have 
the animal when he learns that his former brother-in-law 
(Robert Kent) had sent it there to be killed; he pavs the 
fine and gets the dog. Miss Wood suggests that Ellison 
and the dog live in the barn until her lease expired. She 
learns that Ellison had been married to Kent's sister (June 
Clayworth), but that the family, feeling that Ellison did 
not belong in their social set, had broken up the marriage ; 
Miss Clayworth had since remarried. Ellison was bitter, 
his one desire being to show Kent up. When the town 
drunkard is found murdered, suspicion falls on Ellison's 
dog, and it is taken away from him. Ellison demands a trial 
for the dog, at which time he proves, through witnesses, 
that the drunkard had been killed by a leopard which had 
escaped from a carnival, but which had later been recap- 
tured. In the meantime, Miss Clayworth is kidnapped. Elli- 
son's dog leads the police to the gangsters' hideout, thus 
becoming the cause of Miss Clayworth's rescue. Kent and 
Ellison shake hands, forgetting all past differences. Ellison 
is happy, for he had fallen in love with Miss Wood, who 
returned his love. 

David Silverstcin and Jo Pagano wrote the screen play; 
Leslie Goodwins directed it, and Cliff Keid produced it. In 
the cast are Robert Warwick, Leonard IVnn. John Wray, 
and others. 

Suitability, Class A. 



.52 



HARRISON'S REPORTS 



April 1, 1939 



It is to make it impossible for a wholesaler to hold the 
business-life of his own customers in the hollow of his hand 
by competing with them that every one of you must fight to 
bring about a divorcement of theatres from production- 
distribution. 

By the suit now pending in the District Court for the 
Southern District of New York, the United States Govern- 
ment has undertaken to bring about such a divorcement. 
But in order for it to do so, it must have the necessary 
proof. The defendants have demanded of the Government a 
Bill of Particulars, and the Court has granted part of their 
demands. The Department of Justice is naturally preparing 
this Bill. But in order that the Government's case may be 
strengthened, the Department of Justice must have plenti- 
ful information as to the abuses the producers have prac- 
ticed on you over a period of years, and as to the effect 
upon the independent theatre owners the operation of thea- 
tres by the major companies has had. Such information can 
be furnished only by you, the independent theatre owners. 

There has never been a time when you had a better 
chance to shatter the chains that have bound you for so 
many years. The United States Government has under- 
taken, without any cost to you, to free you from this slav- 
ery. Will you take advantage of the Government's proffer? 
Will you furnish it with the necessary information? If you 
do not, it will be said that you are worthy of no more than 
your present fate. 

If you wish to cooperate with the U. S. Government in 
this suit, write to Hon. Thurman Arnold, Assistant At- 
torney-General, Department of Justice, Washington, D. C, 
giving him whatever information you have, not only con- 
cerning yourself, but also other exhibitors. 



THE SPEECH ALLIED PRESIDENT 
COLE MADE AT THE MGM 
SALES CONVENTION 

(Concluded from last week) 

(The first part of the speech was published in last week's 
issue. — The Editor.) 

"A seller dealing with a buyer in that helpless situation 
owes a duty to the industry, to society and to the law not 
to press him so hard as to deprive him of a means of liveli- 
hood. The motion picture business is not a public utility, its 
prices and terms are not regulated by law ; but the arbitrary 
exercise of monopolistic power is what has caused other 
industries to be classified as public utilities. Therefore, a 
sense of responsibility to the public in general, as well as an 
enlightened self-interest, should admonish a distributor not 
to drive too hard a bargain simply because an exhibitor 
must have his pictures. Now more than ever before it is to 
the interest of the distributors to keep the exhibitors in 
business ; not to force them out. And if you say that there 
is no substance to this admonition, I will respond by asking 
you for just a moment to put yourself in the exhibitors' 
shoes. Knowing that the week-end business equals 80% of 
your total for the week, how would you like to have to play 
designated high percentage pictures on every week-end 
against the competition of radio programs featuring movie 
stars, some of whom may be featured in the pictures you 
must play ? 

"Not only must the distributors exercise some restraint 
in the matter of draining off theatre earnings, unless they 
want to kill the goose that lays the shiny eggs, but they 
must preserve the right of the exhibitor to bargain in re- 
spect of terms and conditions that greatly affect his earning 
power. The buyer — and here I speak for the subsequent-run 
exhibitor— must be free to make his contract with the seller 
unhindered by terms and conditions imposed by third per- 
sons who are not parties to the transaction. The crudest 
concepts of individual freedom imply this. And now the 
highest court in the land has laid down that very principle 
for the guidance of this industry. Like it or not, it is the 
law. For my part, I should think you would like it. Count- 
less exhibitors have told me that they got along all right 
with the film salesmen and exchange managers; that the 
latter were anxious to grant them better terms than they 
were receiving ; that their hands were tied and their policy 
was dictated by the large buyers who insisted on writing 
their terms into the contracts between the distributors and 
the subsequent runs. 

"Let us apply this principle to the very important matter 
of protection — 'clearance' to you. I need not remind you 
how much importance exhibitors attach to protection. The 
right to impose protection resides with the distributors by 
virtue of their ownership of copyrights. To the extent that 
the imposition of protection enables the distributor to reap 



a maximum return on its product, it is justified. But the 
distributors allowed this valuable privilege to slip out of 
their grasp. By the time the Supreme Court got around to 
setting matters right, control of protection had been 
usurped by the circuits, which, as the court pointed out, 
owned no copyrights. In virtually every territory the domi- 
nant circuit decides for itself what protection it wants and 
its terms are written into the contracts of the independent 
subsequent runs, however distasteful, however ruinous, it 
may be. I do not believe there is a man within range of my 
voice who thinks that a sound condition. 

"Protection imposed under those conditions has no rela- 
tion to the protection of the copyrights owned by the 
distributors. It ignores the rights which the distributor has 
in its copyrighted properties. The only purpose of such pro- 
tection is to regulate competition between exhibitors in the 
interest of the circuits and to give the circuits a monopoly 
in their respective territories. The distributors now have it 
in their power to re-assert their own rights, to regain the 
control over their own products which they had lost, and to 
regulate clearance solely in their own interest as distribu- 
tors. If they grasp this opportunity great progress will have 
been made. If instead of taking matters into their own 
hands, they allow their theatre departments and large cus- 
tomers to devise means for perpetuating the old order, not 
only are they headed for serious trouble, but they will be 
guilty of fumbling the greatest opportunity to put the 
industry on a sound basis that they have ever had. 

"I am sure that every man in this room realizes that the 
undue extension of protection not only cripples the theatres 
burdened by it, drying them up as sources of film revenue, 
but also tends strongly to alienate the good will and sacri- 
fice the patronage of millions of theatre goers. The greatest 
fallacy foisted on the industry by the theatre departments 
and the chains is that if a picture can be withheld from the 
subsequent run theatre long enough, the patrons of that 
theatre will flock to another theatre, inconveniently located 
and charging a higher admission price, in order to see that 
picture. This ignores the plain fact that many people are 
dependent on a particular theatre because they are too old 
or too young to go down tow^n or to another town, or be- 
cause they can not afford to attend the higher price theatres, 
or have not cars or do not care to drive to the other theatre 
and find parking space. These people are not forced into the 
prior runs because the theatre they are accustomed to attend 
— or can attend — can not show a picture when they would 
like to see it. They merely lose interest in the picture. 

"I am not unmindful that some prior runs might be seri- 
ously impaired or destroyed if the low price subsequent runs 
got the picture too soon. Naturally, it is the concern of the 
distributors that those runs be preserved, just as it should 
be their concern that the subsequent runs be preserved. 
But let the distributors decide protection schedules for 
themselves, as the result of negotiations with all affected 
thereby, and in the interest of all concerned. When the 
present outrageous schedules imposed by the circuits in 
some territories are moderated, I am confident that theatre 
attendance will increase and that the distributors will not 
suffer, but on the contrary will prosper, as a result thereof. 

"And in closing, I point out to you the desirability from 
every point of view of retaining the independent exhibitors 
in this industry. The industry needs these men and their 
ideas, energies and good will in selling motion pictures to 
the public. A monopolized industry is never a healthy one, 
and it knows no peace. The motion picture industry has 
weathered the depression, but now it has come upon evil 
days. It must not only repent and mend its ways, but it must 
also do a certain amount of penance. Readjustments must 
be made, new policies must be adopted, new trade practices 
must be put into effect and all these must be enduring, not 
transitory. If the lesson has been learned, if there is a sin- 
cere desire to accommodate the industry to the new order, 
all will be well. If there is a grudging acceptance of the 
situation, if the dogs of reaction continue to snap at the 
heels of progress, then the industry and all connected with 
it are in for a long siege of uncertainty and demoralization. 

"If such dire consequences ensue, it will not be until after 
a record has been made, a record which all may read and 
understand. Every person in this business, whether he be a 
producer, a distributor, or an exhibitor, or whether he be 
affiliated or independent, is helping to write that record. 
This carries with it a terrible responsibility to meet the 
issues of the day fairly and fully. I am both an optimist and 
a patient man. I know that it is only natural to strain and 
gag at a bitter pill. But since the doctor has ordered it, 
sooner or later it must be swallowed, and I am convinced it 
will do the industry a lot of good. I, for one, am not selling 
the motion picture business short." 



IN TWO SECTIONS— SECTION ONE 

Entered a* second-class matter January 4, 1921, at the post office at New York, New York, under the act of March 3, 1879. 

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A REVIEWING SERVICE FREE FROM THE INFLUENCE OF FILM ADVERTISING 

Vol. XXI SATURDAY, APRIL 8, 1939 No. 14 



COMPLETION OF TRADE PRACTICE 
DRAFT TIMED BADLY 

After dragging the negotiations for several months, the 
producers at last decided to place into the hands of the ex- 
hibitor representatives the final draft of the Trade Practice 
Code. They delivered it Thursday evening, last week. 

Few exhibitors who know what is going on will blame 
the Distributor Committee, headed by Mr. Kent, with 
W. F. Rodgers acting as Chairman and carrying on the 
work ; but the suddenness with which the draft was com- 
pleted will lead many exhibitors to believe that its comple- 
tion was hastened so that it might appear in the trade papers 
before Monday (April 3), the day on which the hearings on 
the Neely Bill were held. By placing these proposed reforms 
in the record, they evidently hoped to convince the Sub- 
committee of the Senate Committee on Interstate Com- 
merce that the passage of this Bill is now unnecessary. 

How the Allied leaders feel about seeing the final draft 
in print before they had a chance to go over it so as to ex- 
press their views on it, as has been the procedure heretofore, 
Harrison's Reports does not yet know, for no statement 
has so far been given out from Allied headquarters. A state- 
ment will no doubt be issued soon. 

The revised draft is far clearer than any of the previous 
drafts — it is more specific, enabling the reader to know 
what reforms the distributors have decided to grant to the 
exhibitors. 

Under the heading, "Exclusion Privilege," the exhibitor 
is granted the right to cancel, in addition to the 10%, 15%, 
or 20%, as the case may be, in accordance with the price 
he pays for film, also pictures that are declared "locally 
offensive on moral, religious or racial grounds," the arbitra- 
tion board settling the dispute in case there should be a dis- 
agreement between exhibitor and distributor whether a 
feature may or may not be excluded on the aforementioned 
grounds. 

The provision under "Trade Announcement" might have 
just as well been left out, as Mr. Abram F. Myers once 
suggested ; it does not mean anything. 

Some provision has been made to give an exhibitor the 
right to contract big pictures belonging to distributors 
with whom he has no contract, whenever there is public 
demand for them. Whether or not this provision will prove 
satisfactory to the independent exhibitors represented by- 
Allied this paper does not yet know; but the concession 
granted does not seem to be enough to act as an induce- 
ment for the Allied Association to give up its fight for the 
complete elimination of block-booking and blind-selling. 

Under "Preferred Playing Time." the distributor agrees 
not to demand preferred playing time either on flat-rental 
pictures, or on percentage pictures that are contracted for 
with a guarantee of a minimum amount ; but it does leave 
the matter of plain percentage pictures as it was before. 

How does Allied feel about this concession? 

In looking over the speech that was made by Col. H. A. 
Cole, president of Allied, at the convention of the MGM 
sales forces in Chicago on March 21, I find the following 
remark : 

"Knowing that the week-end business equals 80% of 
your total for the week, how would you like to have to play 
designated high percentage pictures on every w - eek-end 
against the competition of radio programs featuring movie 
stars, some of whom may be featured in the pictures you 
must play ?" 

This remark leads us to believe that the Allied organiza- 
tion is not getting from the distributors what it fought for. 
And I doubt whether there are many exhibitors who would 
disagree with Col. Cole. 



Under the same heading, that is, "Preferred Playing 
Time," the exhibitor is given the right to refuse to play 
pictures that he considers unsuitable for the people of his 
community on those days. The conditions under which he 
may refuse such pictures are set forth in the provision. 

Under the heading, "Some Run Available," any ex- 
hibitor shall be able to obtain pictures, provided he fulfills 
the qualifications prescribed in the provision. The prices de- 
manded for pictures shall not be subject to arbitration, but 
each distributor is not to ask for his pictures prices, or im- 
pose conditions, that may be considered "unreasonable." 

Notice that an arbitration board is barred from saying 
whether the prices asked from an exhibitor are unreason- 
able, if such they should be, asked of him for no other pur- 
pose than to defeat the intent of this provision. 

Under the heading "Regular Customer," the provision 
attempts to take care of frequent independent exhibitor 
complaints that the distributors always favor the affiliated 
circuits. Certain regulations are prescribed, with the right 
of the exhibitor to resort to arbitration in case there should 
be any violation of this provision. 

Under the heading, "Short Subjects, Newsreels, etc.,'' all 
called "Shorts" for convenience, an exhibitor is freed of 
the obligation to buy a distributor's shorts in order to 
obtain his features. (This term includes westerns as well 
as "foreigns." ) In case any distributor violates this provi- 
sion, the exhibitor may resort to arbitration. 

Under the heading, "Score Charges," the distributors 
promise not to make separate charges for pictures of the 
1939-40 season, on either flat rental or on percentage pic- 
tures. 

The following other matters are treated under their re- 
spective headings : 

The distributor shall, at the time he sends a notice of 
availability, notify the exhibitor of the price allocation of 
the picture. 

On selective contracts, the exhibitor must make his selec- 
tion within twenty-one days after a notice of availability is 
sent to him. 

An exhibitor shall not be required to play a picture in 
the order of its release if the distributor should hold it hack. 

A distributor shall not coerce an exhibitor into signing a 
contract by employing the familiar threat about building a 
competitive theatre. Such methods are subject to arbitra- 
tion. 

Breaches of contract shall be arbitrated. So shall be 
clearance as well as over-buying. 

License fees, and other terms and conditions (except 
those specifically provided for in the Code), shall not be 
subject to arbitration. 

This Code shall be effective on contracts entered into 
after January 1, 1939, but only for the 1939-40 season, and 
thereafter as long as the Code remains in effect. But the pro- 
posed agreement covers only two seasons, beginning with 
the 1939-40 season ; a signatory, whether exhibitor or dis- 
tributor, is given the right to withdraw at the end of the 
second season by giving a written notice of withdrawal at 
least six months prior to the end of the season. (August 31 
is to be considered the end of a season; September 1, the 
beginning. ) 

In regard to arbitration. Mr. \V. F. Rodgers. speaking 
for the Committee, said in his letter to Col. Cole, president 
of Allied, as follows about it : 

"Your counsel's revision contained counter suggestions 
as to arbitration, which we discussed with our counsel. 
However, we have not yet completed a revision of the pro- 

[Continued on last page) 



54 



HARRISON'S REPORTS 



April 8, 1939 



"I'm From Missouri" with Bob Burns 
and Gladys George 

{Paramount, April 7; time, 7S l / 2 min.) 

Good for the Bob Burns fans, but only fair for general 
audiences. Most of the laughs are provoked by Burns' 
homespun philosophy ; in addition, he awakens sympathy 
by his actions. But the story itself is routine ; it depends on 
a few gags for novelty, but only some are amusing. The 
closing scenes are extremely comical because of the mixups 
and of the manner in which Burns puts over an important 
deal. A romance is worked into the plot, but it is of minor 
importance : — 

Burns, a banker and former breeder of Missouri mules, 
realizes that, with the falling market, his mule-breeding 
neighbors would be ruined. E. E. Clive, an Englishman 
who, with his wife, had been forced down in their plane and 
had accepted Burns' hospitality, suggests that Burns fly 
his prize mule to Kansas for the stock show in order to in- 
terest British Army buyers. But things turn out against 
him and the only thing left for him to do is to go to England 
to see the Army buyers himself. His wife (Gladys George) 
and her sister (Judith Barrett) accompany him. Once in 
London, Burns realizes he was up against tough competi- 
tion in the person of Gene Lockhart, who was trying to 
induce the Army officials to buy cavalry tanks instead of 
mules. In the meantime, Miss George becomes society con- 
scious and rents a large house in order to give swank 
parties. Her first big party is a miserable failure until 
Clive and his wife, who, it developed, were a Duke and 
Duchess respectively, and their friends, arrive on a surprise 
visit. Neither Burns nor Miss George had known of their 
titles. In the meantime. Burns' Missouri neighbors had 
shipped him 2,000 mules, feeling sure he would put over the 
deal ; he is frantic, for he could get no definite word from 
the officials. A buyer (Wra. Collier, Sr.) suddenly presents 
himself ; when the Army officials hear of this, they rush 
down to the pier and insist that Burns sell the mules to 
them ; he gladly does so. He almost faints when he learns 
that Collier had intended to buy only one mule. Miss 
George is cured of her social aspirations and is happy to go 
back home with Burns. So is her sister, who realized that 
her home-town sweetheart (William Henry) was a worth- 
while person. 

Homer Croy and Julian Street wrote the story, and John 
C. Moffitt and Duke Atteberry. the screen play ; Theodore 
Reed directed it, and Paul Jones produced it. In the cast 
are Patricia Morison, Melville Cooper, Doris Lloyd, and 
others. 

Suitability, Class A. 



"Winner Take All" with Tony Martin, 
Gloria Stuart and Henry Armetta 

(20//i Century-Fox, April 21 ; time, 62 min.) 
A fair program entertainment. It mixes comedy with 
romance and prize-fighting and manages to be fairly enter- 
taining in each respect. Henry Armetta gives an outstand- 
ing performance ; as the harrassed lodge treasurer, who 
tries gambling in an effort to build up the lodge's funds, he 
wins one's sympathy, at the same time provoking hearty 
laughter. Tony Martin's part is a routine one, which he 
handles only fairly well ; he docs no singing. Although the 
story is far-fetched, it moves at a fast pace. The closing 
scenes are the most exciting; there Martin fights his most 
important bout. What makes it exciting is the fact that 
Armetta had bet all the lodge's funds on Martin. The 
romance is developed according to formula : — 

While working as a waiter in Armctta's restaurant, 
Martin, who had left Montana in order to earn enough 
money in New York to pay his way through agricultural 
college, comes to the attention of Robert Allen, a fight 
manager. Allen signs him up, and, through a series of 
fixed fights, soon has him on top. Martin, not knowing that 
the fights had been fixed, lets success go to his head ; he 
goes out on parties and takes to drink. Gloria Stuart, a 
sports writer who had fallen in love with Martin, wants to 



help him. She pleads with Kane Richmond, who was to 
fight Martin, to knock him out, even though Allen's orders 
were to give the fight to Martin. Martin loses ; this sobers 
him up. But it brings agony to Armetta, because he had bet 
the lodge's money on him. Miss Stuart takes over Allen's 
contract. Together with Slim Summerville, she trains 
Martin, who starts winning fights legitimately. Eventually 
she matches him with Richmond. Armetta again bets on 
Martin. For a time it looks as if Martin would lose, for he 
had found out the truth about his other fight with Rich- 
mond. But he regains his senses when Richmond tells him 
Miss Stuart loved him. He wins both the fight and Miss 
Stuart. Armetta is overjoyed. 

Jerry Cady wrote the story, and Frances Hyland and 
Albert Ray, the screen play ; Otto Brower directed it, and 
Jerry Hoffman produced it. In the cast are Inez Palange, 
Johnnie Pirrone, Pedro DeCordoba, and others. 

Suitability, Class A. 



"The Lady and the Mob" with Fay Bainter, 
Ida Lupino and Lee Bowman 

(Columbia, April 3 ; time, 65 min.) 
This farce is fair program entertainment. It has a novel 
plot which, although far-fetched, provides situations that 
are somewhat comical. There is excitement and comedy in 
the closing scenes, where the heroine uses drastic methods 
to outwit racketeers. The romance is fairly pleasant and is 
worked into the plot without interfering with the action : — 

Annoyed when she learns that racketeers were forcing 
merchants to join their protective association, thus bring- 
ing up the cost to the consumer, Fay Bainter, the richest 
woman in town and president of the bank, decides to take 
matters into her own hands. When she realizes that she 
could get no place arguing with the racketeers, she goes to 
the Mayor, who asks her to keep out of his affairs. She then 
decides to form her own gang, and sends to New York for 
Warren Hymer, a reformed pickpocket ; upon his arrival 
she requests him to form the gang. Helped in her work by 
her future daughter-in-law (Ida Lupino), Miss Bainter 
starts acting ; first of all, she buys a bullet-proof automobile 
and machine guns. With the help of her gang, she kidnaps a 
member of the racketeering gang in an effort to find out the 
name of their leader ; he finally confesses that it was the 
Mayor. But Miss Bainter is arrested on a kidnapping 
charge ; her men help her escape from jail. Accompanied by 
the District Attorney, she confronts the Mayor with evi- 
dence she had obtained ; he confesses. With the racketeer 
mob wiped out, Miss Bainter goes back to normal living; 
she is happy when her son marries Miss Lupino. 

George Bradshaw and Price Day wrote the story, and 
Richard Maibaum and Gertrude Purcell, the screen play; 
Ben Stoloff directed it. and Fred Kohlmar produced it. In 
the cast are Henry Armetta, Harold Huber, Joseph Saw- 
yer, Tom Dugan, and others. 

Adult fare. Class B. 



"Society Lawyer" with Walter Pidgeon, 
Virginia Bruce and Leo Carrillo 

(MGM, March 3; time, 77 min.) 
A fair remake of "Penthouse," which was first produced 
by MGM in 1933. It should prove entertaining mostly to 
those who did not see the first picture, for this one suffers 
somewhat by comparison. Moreover gangster melodramas 
much more exciting than this have been produced since 
1933. Nevertheless it should go over where stories of this 
type are liked, for the action is fast and at times exciting. 
As was the case in the first picture, it is strictly adult fare 
because of the somewhat demoralizing plot developments 
and of the racy dialogue. It has occasional bits of comedy 
and a pleasant romance : — 

Because of the fact that Walter Pidgeon had defended 
a gangster (Leo Carrillo), obtaining his acquittal, his law 
partners upbraid him ; he, therefore, resigns. His society 
sweetheart (Frances Mercer) breaks their engagement, 



April 8, 1939 



HARRISON'S REPORTS 



55 



turning her affections to Lee Bowman, who promises to 
break up an affair he had been having with Ann Morriss. 
Carrillo, who worshipped Pidgeon even though he occa- 
sionally insulted him, insists on having two of his body- 
guards trail him. He invites Pidgeon to his nightclub, where 
he introduces him to Virginia Bruce, an entertainer. In the 
meantime, Eduardo Ciannelli, a vicious gangster, who had 
been Miss Morriss' former lover, learns from her that her 
affair with Bowman was over ; yet he desired revenge. He 
arranges to have them both at his home at a party, where 
he has one of his henchmen kill Miss Morriss, arranging 
the evidence so as to make it appear as if Bowman had com- 
mitted the murder. Pidgeon undertakes to defend Bowman 
when he is arrested. Learning that Miss Bruce had been a 
friend of the murdered girl, Pidgeon suggests that she stay 
at his apartment, hoping that she would give him some 
leads just by talking naturally. She does. Although his life 
was endangered, Pidgeon goes on with the case and finally 
solves it. He forces the guilty man to confess. In an effort 
to protect Miss Bruce, Carrillo, who had been following 
her, sacrifices his own life in a gun fight with Ciannelli. 
Bowman is freed. With the case finished, Pidgeon proposes 
marriage to Miss Bruce and is accepted. 

The plot was adapted from the story by Arthur Somers 
Roche ; Frances Goodrich, Albert Hackett, Leon Gordon, 
and Hugo Butler wrjite the screen play, Edwin L. Marin 
directed it, and John Considine, Jr., produced it. In the 
cast are Herbert Mundin, Frank M. Thomas, Edward S. 
Brophy, and others. 

Unsuitable for children and adolescents. Class B. 



"They Made Her a Spy" with Sally Eilers 
and Allan Lane 

(RKO, April 14 ; time, 68 win.) 
A pretty good program espionage melodrama. Although 
it starts off a little slowly, it gradually develops a fast 
pace, holding one's attention well. The action, that is, the 
manner in which the spy ring works, is interesting, and 
quite often exciting, in spite of the fact that parts of it seem 
far-fetched. Since the heroine, who is a sympathetic char- 
acter, becomes a member of the spy ring in an effort to help 
the U. S. Government uncover the leader's identity, one is 
naturally held in suspense, fearing for her safety. The ro- 
mance is pleasant : — 

When her brother, an Army Lieutenant, is killed, be- 
cause of sabotage, while demonstrating his new anti- 
aircraft shell, Sally Eilers gives up her position in order to 
join the U. S. Intelligence Service in an effort to break the 
spy ring. Through a ruse, she comes to the attention of one 
of the spy-ring leaders (Fritz Leiber), who is stru:k by 
her intelligence and daring ; he makes her a member of the 
gang. During her work she meets Allan Lane, presumably 
a member of the gang, and works with him on several cases. 
Eventually, through the work of both Miss Eilers and 
Lane, the ring is broken and the leader, who, it develops, 
was a respected business man, together with his men, are 
arrested. It is then that Miss Eilers learns that Lane was a 
reporter, who had risked his life to get the story about the 
ring. Lane, too, is surprised to find that Miss Eilers was 
working for the Government. But they are both happy for 
they had fallen in love with each other. 

George Bricker wrote the story, and Michael Kanin and 
Jo Pagano, the screen play; Jack Hively directed it, and 
Robert Sisk produced it. In the cast are Frank M. Thomas, 
Theodore Von Eltz, Addison Richards, Larry P.lake, and 
Pierre Watkin. 
Suitability, Class A. 



"North of Shanghai" with Betty Furness 
and James Craig 

{Columbia, February 10; time, 58 min.) 
Ordinary program entertainment. The most exciting part 
of the picture is that portion in which have been used actual 
newsreel shots of Shanghai bombings. The story is some- 
what confused and illogical, becoming particularly far 
fetched in the closing scenes. Even though one sympathizes 



with the hero and the heroine because of their bravery in 
the face of danger, one's interest wanders because of the 
rambling way in which the story unfolds. The romance is 
developed according to formula : — ■ 

Fearing that the articles Betty Furness, a reporter, had 
written against gangsters would result in injury to her and 
in damage to the newspaper, the editor insists that she 
leave the country for a time. He suggests that she go to 
Shanghai, all expenses to be paid by the firm. Miss Furness 
becomes acquainted with James Craig, a fellow-passenger, 
who was on his way to Shanghai to obtain newsreel pic- 
tures of the fighting. By the time they reach port they are 
very much in love with each other. Craig, who was worried 
for Miss Furness' safety, is surprised when he discovers her 
identity. Together they work on a case involving the mana- 
ger of the Shanghai office of Miss Furness' newspaper, for 
they had learned that he was mixed up with a gang of inter- 
national agents working against China. Craig and Miss 
Furness pass their information on to the head of a powerful 
Chinese society, and they are given aid with which to com- 
bat the enemies. They rout them in time to prevent an 
aerial bombing of an important Chinese arsenal. Craig and 
Miss Furness leave for New York, there to be married. 

Harold Buchman and Maurice Rapf wrote the original 
screen play ; D. Ross Lederman directed it. In the cast are 
Keye Luke, Morgan Conway, Joseph Downing, Russell 
Hicks, Dorothy Gulliver, and others. 

Suitability, Class A. 



"The Story of Vernon and Irene Castle" 
with Ginger Rogers and Fred Astaire 

(RKO [1937-38], April 28; time, 92 min.) 
Very good entertainment ! It is one of the best Astaire- 
Rogers pictures, for it has a story with human appeal, ro- 
mance, comedy, and, of course, excellent music and dancing. 
Considering that the story has been based on the life of 
Vernon and Irene Castle, two of the finest and most popular 
dancers in America during the pre-war period, the public 
should be curious enough to want to see the picture. Adult 
audiences should be delighted by the old songs and dances, 
which will bring back memories of days gone by. And it 
should prove entertaining to young folk, since it depicts an 
interesting period in the development of the dance. Both 
Miss Rogers and Astaire are extremely appealing, and 
dance the various numbers with grace. The ending, which 
is in keeping with facts, touches one deeply. The story 
starts in 1911 and continues through the war: — 

After his meeting with Irene (Ginger Rogers), who 
wanted to go on the stage, Vernon Castle (Fred Astaire), 
who played slapstick comedy, decides to take her advice 
and give up comedy for dancing. They practice routines 
together ; after a short courtship they decide to marry. 
Unable to interest American managers in a dancing act, 
they accept an offer to appear in a musical comedy in Paris ; 
again they are disappointed, for the manager expected 
Vernon to do his comedy act. By chance, they come to the 
attention of Maggie Sutton (Edna May Oliver), a pro- 
moter-manager, who obtains for them an engagement at a 
famous cafe. They become overnight sensations, and money 
starts pouring in. They go back to America, where they 
make successful cross-country tours. After a time, they 
decide to retire, and settle down. But Vernon, who was 
English by birth, is restless and finally, to Irene's despair, 
enlists in the Aviation Corps. They meet once in Paris, just 
when America enters the war. Irene later goes to Holly- 
wood, to act in motion pictures ; she is overjoyed when she 
receives a telephone call that Vernon had arrived in Amer- 
ica and was on his way to Texas to teach aviation to young 
Army students. They plan to meet at a certain hotel. But on 
that very day Vernon meets with an accident and is killed. 

The plot was taken from two books by Irene Castle. 
Richard Sherman wrote the screen play, H. C. Potter di- 
rected it. and George Haight produced it. In the cast are 
Walter Hrcnnan, Lou Fields, Kticune Girardot. Janet 
Needier, Rolfe Sedan, and others. 

Suitability, Class A. 



56 



HARRISON'S REPORTS 



April 8, 1939 



visions with respect to arbitration machinery, and for that 
reason we again enclose the proposed basis for arbitration 
which we previously handed you. It is obvious that this is 
not complete and further elaboration will be necessary in 
the light of discussions and of your counsel's suggestions, 
but we believe that the statements of principle contained in 
it and in the revised memorandum enclosed herewith will 
furnish the foundation for the arbitration machinery de- 
sired." 

The suggestions in the Code draft about arbitration cover 
location of the board, method of selection of arbitrators, 
the cost of the arbitration machinery, qualification of the 
arbitrators, and a few other matters. 

Editor's Notk: Just before going to press, this office 
received an Allied release, part of which reads as follows: 

"The trade practice proposals submitted by the distribu- 
tors not only are incomplete, but they do not pretend to 
abolish compulsory block booking and blind selling, and do 
not touch the subject of theatre divorcement. The proposals 
do not provide relief at all commensurate with that asked 
by the Government suit. Under the aforementioned resolu- 
tions of the Board of Directors, Allied can follow no other 
course than to support and seek the passage of the Neely 
Bill ( S. 2X0 ) to prohibit compulsory block booking and 
blind selling of motion pictures. ..." 



THE NATIONAL ANTHEM AND ITS 
PLACE IN MOVING PICTURE 
THEATRES 

At a recent meeting of the Northampton (Mass.) Mo- 
tion Picture Council, the reaction of the picture theatre 
audiences to the exhibition of the trailer "The Star 
Spangled Banner" was discussed. 

Some of the members expressed regret that so few of the 
audiences in the theatres of that city stood at attention 
while the aforementioned trailer was exhibited. 

Some of the speakers, however, exonerated the audiences 
and, though they recognized the sincerity of the motion 
picture industry in its decision to spread patriotism, they 
criticized the manner of showing it ; they questioned the 
wisdom of showing the trailer at every performance. 

The result of this discussion was a decision on the part 
of the Motion Picture Council to make the following sug- 
gestions to the local managers : 

(a) The film, if shown at every performance, should be 
shown in the beginning, when it is easier for people to 
stand up. 

( b ) The showing of the trailer at every performance 
tends to cheapen the national anthem. 

(c) The showing be confined to national holidays and to 
patriotic occasions. 

(d) Every precaution be taken to prevent the conveying 
to the audiences of the impression that the trailer is an "ad 
or a preview of a coming attraction." 

Harrison's Reports concurs with these suggestions and 
wishes that every theatre owner accept them. Nothing can 
do more to create disrespect for the national anthem than 
the showing of the reel every time a manager feels that the 
showing of it will bring prestige to his house; its showing 
should be prompted by more worthy motives. 

The New York Herald Tribune, issue of March 5, had a 
fine editorial on patriotism, under the heading, "Proof of 
the Patriot." "Like charity," said part of the article, "pa- 
triotism "is not puffed up.' A patriot would no more think 
of calling himself a patriot than he would describe himself 
as a gentleman. The deeper his love for his land, the less he 
is likely to assure the neighbors that it exists, and under 
no circumstances will he be heard bellowing that fellow 
countrymen who hold opinions opposed to his own are 
traitors and lice." 

The editorial continues in the same vein, remarking that 
it is better thai Americans should not go in for mass hys- 
teria over the flag, nor for any of those other paganistic 
forms that the totalitarian states so love to display, because 
patriotism cannot, as the editorial says, be fostered by 
parades or insignia ; these merely promote arrogance. It 
closes as follows : 

"The glorious quality of the American way always has 
been that you were free to follow it or not. It never was 
designed for solemnly lifted, shiny boots for everyday wear, 
nor for prostrate obeisance. Always it has been rough with 
disagreements and with virile cantankerousness, and far 



from regarding it as perfect. Americans intend to go right 
on improving it." 

Harrison's Reports feels that every theatre owner 
should own a print of the trailer, but it believes, like the 
members of the Northampton Motion Picture Council, that 
the country would be served by the motion picture industry 
better if the showing of it was to be confined to Sundays 
and holidays, as well as to patriotic occasions. 



MGM ALREADY ADOPTING SOME 

OF THE TRADE PRACTICE 

REFORMS 

At the annual convention of the MGM sales forces, which 
was held in Chicago on March 21 and 22, Mr. W. F. 
Rodgers, general manager of distribution of that company, 
announced that his company has already decided to adopt 
the following trade practices beginning now, and not until 
after the code has been ratified : 

Abolition of the score charge. 

Elimination of preferred playing time on percentage- 
wit h-a-guarantce pictures. 

.Selling of shorts (newsreels, trailers, shorts, westerns 
and "foreigns") will not be tied up with the features. 

No MGM employee will be allowed to employ theatre- 
building as a means of compelling the exhibitor to buy the 
MGM product. 

BOX-OFFICE PERFORMANCES OF 
1938-39 SEASON'S PICTURES— No. 1 

This is the second series of articles giving the box-office 
performances of 1938-39 season's pictures. The first series 
was printed beginning with the January 14 issue. 

Columbia 

"In Early Arizona," with Bill Elliott and Dorothy Gulli- 
ver ; directed by Joseph Levering, from a screen play by 
Nate Gatzert : Good. 

"Adventure in Sahara," with Paul Kelly, Lorna Gray, 
and C. Henry Gordon ; directed by D. Ross Lederman, from 
a screen play by Maxwell Shane : Fair-Poor. 

"Blondie," with Penny Singleton and Arthur Lake; pro- 
duced by Robert Sparks and directed by Frank R. Strayer, 
from a screen play by Richard Flournoy : Good-Fair. 

"The Terror of Tiny Town," with Bill Curtis and 
Yvonne Moray ; directed by Sam Newfield, from a screen 
play by Fred My ton : Good-Poor. 

"Strange Case of Dr. Mead," with Jack Holt and Beverly 
Roberts; produced by Larry Darmour and directed by 
Lewis D. Collins, from a screen play by Gordon Rigby : 
Fair-Poor. 

"There's That Woman Again," with Melvyn Douglas 
and Virginia Bruce ; produced by B. B. Kahane and di- 
rected by Alexander Hall, from a screen play by Philip G. 
Epstein, James E. Grant, and Ken Englund : Good-Fair. 

"Smashing the Spy Ring," with Ralph Bellamy, Fay 
Wray, and Regis Toomey ; directed by Christy Cabanne. 
from a screen play by Dorrell and Stuart McGowan and 
Arthur Horman : Fair-Poor. 

"Homicide Bureau," with Bruce Cabot, Rita Hayworth, 
and Moroni Olsen ; directed by C. C. Coleman, Jr., from a 
screen play by Earle Snell: Fair-Poor. 

"Lone Wolf's Spy Hunt," with Warren William, Ida 
Lupino, and Virginia Weidler ; produced by Joseph Sis- 
trom and directed by Peter Godfrey, from a screen play by 
Jonathan Latimer: Fair-Poor. 

"North of Shanghai," with Betty Furness and James 
Craig ; directed by D. Ross Lederman, from a screen play- 
by Maurice Rapf and Harold Buehman : Fair-Poor. 

Nineteen pictures, including Westerns, have been re- 
leased. Grouping the pictures of the different ratings from 
the beginning of the season, exclusive of four Westerns on 
which reports have not been obtained, we get the following 
results : 

Excellent, 1; Good, 1; Good-Fair, 2; Good-Poor, 1; 
Fair, 2; Fair-Poor, 8. 

The first nineteen pictures in the 1937-38 season, includ- 
ing Westerns, were rated as follows : 

Excellent, 2; Good-Fair, 2; Good-Poor, 1; Fair, 4; 
Fair-Poor, HI. 



IN TWO SECTIONS— SECTION TWO 

HARRISONS REPORTS 



Vol. XXI NEW YO RK, N. Y., SATURDAY, APRIL 8, 1939 No. 14 

( Partial Index No . 2 — Pages 26 to 52 Inch) 



Title of Picture Reviewed on Page 

Adventures of Jane Arden, The — Warner (58 min.) ... 38 
Almost a Gentleman — RKO (64 min.) 51 

Beauty for the Asking— RKO (67^ min.) 26 

Blackwell's Island — First National (70 min.) 38 

Blondie Meets the Boss — Columbia (74 min.) 38 

Cafe Society — Paramount (83 min.) 30 

Code of the Streets— Universal (69 min.) 35 

Convict's Code — Monogram (63 min.) 27 

Everybody's Baby — 20th Century-Fox (61 min.) 34 

Fast and Loose— MGM (79 min.) 31 

Flight from Justice — Republic (See "Federal 

Man Hunt") 7 

Flying Irishman, The— RKO (71 min.) 42 

Forged Passport — Republic (6i min.) 35 

Headleys at Home, The — Syndicate (59 min. ) 42 

Honolulu— MGM (83 min.) 27 

Hour.d of the Baskervilles, The — 20th Ccnturv- 

Fox (79 min.) 50 

Huckleberry Finn— MGM (90^ min.) 30 

Ice Follies of 1939, The— MGM (81 min.) 42 

Inside Story — 20th Century-Fox (60 min.) 43 

I Was a Convict — Republic (63 min.) 39 

King of Chinatown — Paramount (56 min.) 46 

King of the Turf— United Artists (87^ min.) 27 

Let Freedom Ring— MGM (86 min.) 34 

Let Us Live — Columbia (68 min. ) 34 

Little Princess, The — 20th Century-Fox (91 min.) 46 

Love Affair— RKO (88 min.) 47 

Made For Each Other— United Artists (94 min.) 26 

Midnight — Paramount (93 min.) 47 

Mr. Moto in Danger Island — 20th Century-Fox (69 m.) 46 

My Son Is a Criminal — Columbia (59 min.) 47 

Mystery of Mr. Wong, The — Monogram (67 min.) ... 47 

Mystery of the White Room — Universal (58 min.) .... 51 

Mystery Plane — Monogram (60 min.) 38 

My Wife's Relatives — Republic (64 min.) 50 

Never Say Die — Paramount (81 min.) 43 

Oklahoma Kid— Warner Bros. (80 min.) 39 

One Third of a Nation — Paramount (75 min.) 27 

Prison Without Bars — United Artists (77 min.) 35 

Risky Business — Universal (67 min.) 46 

Romance Is Sacred — Warner Bros. (See "The King 
and the Chorus Girl") (1937) 42 

Saint Strikes Back, The— RKO (64 min.) 35 

Secret Service of the Air — Warner Bros. (61 min.) ... 34 

Sergeant Madden— MGM (80 min.) 50 

Society Smugglers — Universal (70 inin. ) 43 

Spirit of Culver — Universal (90 min.) 39 

Stagecoach — United Artists (95 min.) 31 

Star Reporter, The — Monogram (62 min.) 39 

Sudden Money — Paramount (60 min.) 50 

Three Musketeers, The — 20th Century-Fox (72 m.) ... 26 

Three Smart Girls Grow Up — Universal (87 min.) .... 51 

Trouble in Sundown — RKO (60 min.) 42 

Twelve Crowded Hours — RKO (64 min.) 30 

What a Woman — Columbia (See "There's That 

Woman Again") 206 

Whispering Enemies — Columbia (63 min.) 43 

Wife, Husband and Friend— 20th Cen.-Fox (79 m.) . . . 30 

Within the Law — MGM (64 min.) 51 

Woman Doctor — Republic (65 min.) 26 



Yes. My Darling Daughter — First National (74 m.).. 42 
You Can't Cheat an Honest Man — Universal (79 in.). 31 



RELEASE SCHEDULE FOR FEATURES 

Columbia Features 

(729 Seventh Ave., New York, N. Y.) 

9050 The Terror of Tiny Town — Midgets (63m.) .Dec. 1 

9202 Rio Grande— Starrett (59m.) Dec. 8 

9022 The Strange Case of Dr. Mead— Holt Dec. 15 

9U06 There's That Woman Again — Douglas-Bruce Dec. 24 

9015 Smashing the Spy Ring— W ray-Bellamy Dec. 29 

9035 Homicide Bureau — Cabot-Havworth Jan. 5 

9203 The Thundering West— Starrett (58m.) ....Jan. 12 

9212 Frontiers of '49— All Star west. (54^m.) . . .Jan. 19 
9014 Lone Wolf's Spy Hunt — William-Lupino. .. Jan. 27 

9204 Texas Stampede— Starrett (57^ min.) Feb. 9 

9038 North of Shanghai— Furness-Craig Feb. 10 

9029 My Son Is a Criminal— A. Baxter- Wells ....Feb. 22 

9007 Let Us Live— Fonda-O'Sullivan Feb. 28 

9009 Blondie Meets the Boss — Singleton-Lake . . . Mar. 8 

9213 Lone Star Pioneers— All Star west. (55m.) . .Mar. 16 

9023 Whispering Enemies— J. Holt-D. Costello . . Mar. 24 
Romance of the Redwoods — Bickford (re.) . .Mar. 24 

9205 North of the Yukon— Starrett (64 min.) Mar. 30 

9013 The Lady and the Mob — Bainter-Lupino Apr. 3 

First Offenders — Abel-Roberts Apr. 12 

9214 The Law Comes to Texas — Star west. (58m.) Apr. 16 

9206 The Oklahoma Trail— Starrett Apr. 27 

Only Angels Have Wings — Grant-Arthur . . .Apr. 30 



First National Features 

(321 W. 44th St., New York, N. Y.) 

351 Angels With Dirty Faces — Cagney-O'Brien ..Nov. 24 

370 Comet Over Broadway — Francis-Hunter Dec. 3 

362 Heart of the North — Foran-Dickson Dec. 10 

359 Going Places — Powell-Louise-Huber Dec. 31 

371 Torchy Blane in Chinatown — Farrell Feb. 4 

372 Nancv Drew, Reporter — Granville-Thomas ...Feb. 18 
357 Yes, My Darling Daughter— P. Lane- Lynn. . .Feb. 25 

361 Blackwell's Island — Garfield-R. Lane Mar. 25 

354 Dark Victory — Davis-Brent-Fitzgerald Apr. 22 

373 Sweepstakes Winner — Wilson-Jenkins (re.) .Apr. 29 



Grand National Features 

(50 Rockefeller Placa. New York, N. Y.) 
Wl-2 Ride 'Em Cowgirl— Dorothy Page (52m.) . Jan. 20 



Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Features 

(1540 Broadu-ay, New York, N. Y.) 



920 Idiot's Delight— Shearer-Gable Jan. 27 

921 Four Girls in White— Rice-A. Marshall Jan. 27 

922 Honolulu — E. Powell-Young-Allen-Burns Feb. 3 

923 The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn — 

Rooney-Connolly Feb. 10 

924 Fast and Loose — Russell-Montgomery Feb. 17 

926 Let Freedom Ring— Eddv-Bruce-L.Barrvmore.Feb. 24 
980 Pygmalion— Hiller-Howard Mar 3 

925 The Ice Follies of 1939— Crawford (re.) ....Mar. 10 

928 Within the Law— Hussey-Neal-Kelly Mar. 17 

927 Sergeant Madden — Beery-Curtis-Brown Mar. 24 

930 Society Lawyer — Bruce-Pidgeon Mar. 31 

931 Broadway Serenade — MacDonald-Ayres Apr. 7 

932 Calling Dr. Kildare — L. Barrymore-Ayres ...Apr. 14 

933 Lucky Night — Taylor-Lov Apr '1 

929 The Kid from Texas— O'Keefe-Rice Apr. 28 

The Hardys Ride High — Stone-Rooney May 5 

A Hundred to One Shot — Douglas-Platt May 12 



3822 
3853 
3815 
3862 
3828 
3821 
3820 
3863 

3854 



3864 
3855 



Monogram Features 

(1270 Sixth Ave., New York, N. Y.) 

Convict's Code— Nagel-R. Kent Jan. 18 

Drifting Westward— Jack Randall (49m.) ...Jan. 25 

Navy Secrets— W ray-Withers Feb. 1 

Sundown on the Prairie— Ritter (53m.) Feb. 8 

Little Pal (The Healer)— Reissue Feb. 18 

Star Reporter— Hull-Hunt Feb. 22 

Mystery of Mr. Wong— Boris Karloff Mar. 1 

Rollin' Westward— Tex Ritter (51m.) Mar. 1 

Mysterv Plane ( Sky Pirate)— Trent- Young . Mar. 8 

Trigger Smith— Randall Mar. 22 

Undercover Agent— Gleason-Deane (56m.).. Apr. 5 

Streets of New York— Cooper-Spellman Apr. 12 

Wanted by Scotland Yard— J. Stephenson . . .Apr. 19 

Man from Texas— Tex Ritter Apr. 30 

Boys' Reformatory— Frankie Darro May 1 

Wolf Call— Movita-J. Carroll May 8 

Riders of the Rio Grande— Randall May 26 



3817 
3818 
3819 
3820 
3821 
3822 
3823 
3824 
3825 
3857 
3826 
3863 
3827 
3828 
3829 
3858 
3830 
3831 

3832 
3833 
3834 



Paramount Features 

(1501 Broadway, Nezv York, N. Y.) 

Artists and Models Abroad— Benny Dec. 30 

Disbarred — Patrick-Kruger Jan. 6 

Zaza— Colberl-Marshall-Lahr Jan. 13 

Ambush— Swarthout-Nolan-Henry Jan. 20 

Paris Honeymoon — Crosby-Gaal Jan. 27 

St. Louis Blues— Nolan-Lamour Feb. 3 

Persons in Hiding — Overman-Naish Feb. 10 

Boy Trouble— Ruggles-Boland Feb. 17 

One Third of a Nation— Sidney-Erikson Feb. 24 

Sunset Trail— Boyd-Hayes (68 min.) Feb. 24 

Cafe Society— Carroll-MacMurray Mar. 3 

The Beachcomber— Laughton-Lanchester ..Mar. 10 

King of Chinatown— Wong-Tamiroff Mar. 17 

Midnight— Colbert-Ameche-Lederer Mar. 24 

Sudden Money— Ruggles-Rambeau Mar. 31 

Silver on the Sage — William Boyd (67m. ) . . Mar. 31 

I'm from Missouri — Burns-George Apr. 7 

Bulldog Drummond's Secret Police — 

Howard-Angel- Warner Apr. 14 

Never Say Die — Raye-Hope-Cossart Apr. 14 

Back Door to Heaven — Erwin-Ford Apr. 21 

The Lady's from Kentucky— Raft-Drew Apr. 28 

Union Pacific — Stanwyck-McCrea May 5 

Some Like It Hot— Hope-Ross-Krupa May 12 

Hotel Imperial— Miranda-Milland (re.) May 19 



Republic Features 

(1776 Broadivay, New York, N. Y.) 

808 Woman Doctor— Inescort- Wilcoxon-Jason . . . Feb. 6 

823 Forged Passport— Kelly-Lang Feb. 24 

824 I Was a Convict— MacLane-Roberts Mar. 6 

853 Rough Riders Roundup — Roy Rogers (58m.). Mar. 13 

810 My Wife's Relatives — Gleason-Davenport Mar. 20 

843 Mexicali Rose— Autry (58 min.) Mar. 27 

865 The Night Riders— Three Mesq. (57 min.) . . . Apr. 12 



Twentieth Century-Fox Features 

(444 W. S6th St., New York, N. Y.) 

8010 The Lady Vanishes — Lockwood-Redgrave ..Jan. 6 

928 Charlie Chan in Honolulu — Toler-Brooks Jan. 13 

926 Mr. Moto's Last Warning — Lorre-Cortez ....Jan. 20 

933 Smiling Along — Fields-Maguire-Livesey Jan. 20 

921 Jesse James — Power-Fonda-Kelly Jan. 27 

929 The Arizona Wildcat— Withers-Carrillo Feb. 3 

925 Tail Spin— Faye-C. Bennett-Kelly-Farrell ...Feb. 10 

927 The Three Musketeers — Ameche-Ritz Bros. ..Feb. 17 

931 Pardon Our Nerve — Bari-Gale-Whalen Feb. 24 

930 Wife Husband and Friend — Young-Baxter ...Mar. 3 

934 Inside Story — Whalen-J. Rogers-Chandler ...Mar. 10 

932 The Little Princess — Temple-Greene Mar. 17 

935 Everybody's Baby — Prouty-Deane-Byington .Mar. 24 

936 The Hound of the Baskervillcs — 

Greene-Rathbone-Barrie-Bruce Mar. 31 

937 Mr. Moto in Danger Island — Lorre-Duff ....Apr. 7 

938 The Story of Alexander Graham Bell — 

Ameche-Young-Fonda-Lockhart Apr. 14 

939 Winner Take All— Martin-Stuart- Armetta ..Apr. 21 
945 Inspector Hornleigh — Harker-Sim-Geray ....Apr. 21 

940 Return of the Cisco Kid — Baxter-Bari Apr. 28 

941 Chasing Danger — Foster-Bari- Vernon May 5 

942 Rose of Washington Square — Power-Faye ...May 12 

943 Police School— Withers-Whelan-Bond May 19 

944 The Gorilla — Ritz Bros.-Louise-Norris May 26 



RKO Features 

(1270 Sixth Ave, New York, N. Y.) 

1937- 38 Season 

844 Fisherman's Wharf — Breen-Carrillo Feb. 3 

838 Story of Vernon and Irene Castle — 

Ginger Rogers-Fred Astaire Apr. 28 

1938- 39 Season 

915 Beauty for the Asking — Ball-Knowles Feb. 24 

917 Twelve Crowded Hours— Dix-Ball Mar. 3 

918 The Saint Strikes Back — Sanders-Barrie Mar. 10 

983 Trouble in Sundown — George O'Brien Mar. 24 

920 Almost a Gentleman — Ellison-Wood-Kent ...Mar. 31 

916 Love Affair — Boyer-Dunne Apr. 7 

919 Flying Irishman — Corrigan-Kelly Apr. 7 

921 They Made Her a Spy— Eilers-Lanc Apr. 14 



United Artists Features 

(729 Seventh Ave., New York, N. Y.) 

The Young in Heart — Gaynor-Fairbanks, Jr Nov. 3 

The Cowboy and the Lady — Cooper-Oberon Nov. 17 

Trade Winds — March-J. Bennett-Sothern Dec. 22 

The Duke of West Point — T. Brown-Hayward . . . Dec. 29 
Topper Takes a Trip — C. Bennett- Young-Burke . .Jan. 12 

Made For Each Other — Lombard-J. Stewart Feb. 10 

King of the Turf — Menjou-D. Costello-Abel Feb. 17 

Stagecoach — Trevor- Wayne-Devine-Carradine ...Mar. 3 

Prison Without Bars— Edna Best Mar. 10 

Wuthering Heights — Oberon-Olivier-Niven Apr. 7 

Zenobia — Hardy-Burke-Langdon-Brady Apr. 21 

Captain Fury — McLaglen-Aherne-Lang May 5 



A3056 
A3005 
A3024 
A3029 
A3014 
A3037 
A3001 



Universal Features 

(1250 Sixth Ave., New York, N. Y.) 

The Phantom Stage— Bob Baker (57m.) . . .Feb. 10 
You Can't Cheat an Honest Man — Fields . .Feb. 17 

Society Smugglers — Foster-Hervey Feb. 24 

Risky Business — G. Murphy-D. Kent Mar. 3 

Spirit of Culver — Cooper-Bartholomew ..Mar. 10 
Mystery of the White Room— Cabot-Mack. Mar. 17 
Three Smart Girls Grow Up — Durbin (re.) Mar. 24 
The Family Next Door — Herbert-Hodges .Mar. 31 
East Side of Heaven — Crosby-Blondell . . . .Apr. 7 
Big Town Czar — E. Sullivan-B. MacLane. .Apr. 21 

For Love or Money — Lang-Kent Apr. 28 

Code of the Streets — Carey-Thomas, Jr. ..May 5 

Hawaiian Holiday — Cast not set May 19 

Sun Never Sets — Fairbanks, Jr May 26 



Warner Bros. Features 

(321 W. 44th St., Nezv York, N. Y.) 

319 Nancy Drew, Detective — Granville-Litel Nov. 19 

303 The Dawn Patrol — Flynn-Rathbone-Niven ..Dec. 24 

313 Devil's Island — Karloff-Harrigan Jan. 7 

317 King of the Underworld — Bogart Jan 14 

314 Off the Record— O'Brien-Blondell Jan. 21 

307 They Made Me a Criminal — Garfield Jan. 28 

309 Wings of the Navy — Brent-deHavilland Feb. 11 

320 Secret Service of the Air — Reagan-Litel Mar. 4 

308 The Oklahoma Kid — Cagney-Bogart-R. Lane. Mar. 11 

321 The Adventures of Jane Arden — Towne (re.) .Mar. 18 
323 On Trial — Lindsay-Litel-Norris Apr. 1 

304 Dodge City — Flynn-deHavilland-Sheridan ...Apr. 8 
316 Women in the Wind — Francis-Gargan-Jory . .Apr. 15 



SHORT SUBJECT RELEASE SCHEDULE 



Paramount — One Reel 



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9505 
9803 
9654 
9902 
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9753 

9961 

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9704 
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9553 
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9657 
9508 
9705 
9903 
9858 
9658 



9184 
9405 
9185 
9186 
9430 
9187 
9188 
9431 
9189 
9190 
9406 
9191 
9192 
9432 
9193 
9194 
9433 
9195 



Columbia — One Reel 

Screen Snapshots No. 4 — (9^m.) Dec. 15 

The Kangaroo Kid — Color Rhapsody (7]/ 2 m.) Dec. 23 

King Vulture— Sport Thrills (10^m.) Dec. 23 

Community Sing No. 4 — (lO^m.) Dec. 30 

Washington Parade — Issue #2 ( 11m.) Jan. 6 

Screen Snapshots No. 5 — (9m.) Jan. 6 

Scrappy's Added Attraction — Scrappys 

(6y 2 m.) Jan. 13 

A Night In a Music Hall — Music Hall 

Vanities (11m.) Jan. 20 

Peaceful Neighbors — Color Rhap. (8m.) ....Jan. 26 

Odd Sports— Sport Thrills (9/ 2 m.) Jan. 27 

Krazy's Bear Tale — Krazy Kat (7 l />m.) ....Jan. 27 

Community Sing No. 5 — (9>^m.) Jan. 27 

Big Town Commuters — Tours (9m.) Feb. 3 

Screen Snapshots No. 6 — -(10m.) Feb. 17 

The Gorilla Hunt— Col. Rhapsody (7^m.) . . Feb. 24 

Community Sing No. 6 Feb. 24 

A Night at the Troc — Vanities (10^m.) Mar. 2 

Scrappy's Side Show — Scrappys {&/ 2 m.) ...Mar. 3 

Screen Snapshots No. 7 — i.9 l / 2 m.) Mar. 17 

Navy Champions (Get Ready Navy) — 

Sport Thrills (9^m.) (reset) Mar. 17 

Community Sing No. 7— (10^m.) Mar. 24 

Happy Tots — Color Rhapsody (6 l / 2 m.) Mar. 31 

Golf Chumps — Krazy Kat Apr. 6 

Washington Parade — Issue S3 (reset) Apr. 7 

Screen Snapshots No. 8 Apr. 8 

Community Sing No. 8 Apr. 21 

Columbia — Two Reels 

The Falcon Strikes— G-Men 84 (16^m.) ...Feb. 18 
We Want Our Mummy — Stooges (\6 l / 2 m.) . .Feb. 24 

Flight from Death— G-Men 85 (19m.) Feb. 25 

Phantom of the Sky— G-Men #6 (19j,4m.) . .Mar. 4 
The Sap Takes a Rap — All star com. ( 16m.) . Mar. 10 
Trapped by Radio — G-Men #7 (\Sy 2 m.) . . . .Mar. 11 
Midnight Watch— G-Men 88 (16^m.) .. . . .Mar. 18 
Boom Goes the Groom — All star com. (17m.). Mar. 24 

Wings of Death— G-Men 89 (18m.) Mar. 25 

Flaming Wreckage — G-Men #10 Apr. 1 

A Ducking They Did Go — Stooges (16m.) . .Apr. 7 

While a Nation Sleeps — G-Men SI 1 Apr. 8 

Sealed Orders— G-Men #12 Apr. 15 

A Star Is Shorn— All star (17m.) Apr. 21 

Flame Island — G-Men 813 Apr. 22 

Jaws of Death— G-Men #14 Apr. 29 

The Chump Takes a Bump — All star com. . . . May 5 
The Falcon's Reward — G-Men #15 May 6 



Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer — One Reel 

C-935 Alfalfa's Aunt— Our Gang (11m.) Jan. 7 

S-904 Double Diving— Pete Smith (8m.) Jan. 14 

T-856 Ancient Egypt— Traveltalk (9m.) Jan. 21 

K-922 New Roadways — Passing Parade (10m.) ..Jan. 28 

F-954 How to Sublet— Benchley (8m.) Jan. 28 

W-881 Seal Skinners — Cartoons (8m.) Jan. 28 

M-876 Ice Antics — Miniatures (9m.) Feb. 11 

S-905 Heroes at Leisure— Pete Smith (10m.) Feb. 11 

W-882 Mama's New Hat— Cartoons (8m.) Feb. 11 

T-857 Imperial Delhi— Traveltalks (8m.) Feb. 18 

K-923 The Story of Alfred Nobel- 
Passing Parade (11 min.) Feb. 18 

C-936 Tiny Troubles— Our Gang (10m.) Feb. 18 

W-883 Jitterbug Follies— Cartoons (9m.) Feb. 25 

S-906 Marine Circus — Pete Smith (tech.) Mar. 11 

C-937 Duel Personalities — Our Gang (10m.) ....Mar. 11 

W-884 Wanted No Master— Cartoons (8m.) Mar. 18 

F-955 An Hour for Lunch— Benchley (9m.) ....Mar. 18 
K-924 Story of Dr. Jenncr— Pass. Par. ( 10m.) . . . Mar. 18 

T-858 Java" Journey— Traveltalks (8m.) Mar. 18 

M-877 Love on Tap — Miniatures (11m.) Mar. 18 

Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer — Two Reels 

R-803 A Dream of Love— Musical (17m.) Jan. 28 

P-812 Money to Loan — Crime Doesn't Pav (21m.) Mar. 11 
R-804 Somewhat Secret— Musicals (21m.) Mar. 25 



L8-3 Unusual Occupations #3— (10m.) Dec. 2 

K8-3 Costa Rica — Color Cruises (9m.) Dec. 2 

P8-5 Paramount Pictorial 85— (8^m.) Dec. 9 

V8-5 Oh Say, Can You Ski— Para. (lOj^m.) Dec. 16 

R8-6 Frolicking Frogs— Sport. (9J4m.) Dec. 23 

T8-5 Pudgy in Thrills and Chills— B. B. (5^m.) .Dec. 23 

E8-5 Cops Is Always Right— Popeye (7m.) Dec. 30 

C8-3 Always Kickin' — Color Classic (7m.) Jan. 6 

A8-6 A Song is Born— Headliner (9y 2 m.) Jan. 6 

P8-6 Paramount Pictorial 86— (9m.) Jan. 6 

J8-3 Popular Science 83 — (10m.) Jan. 6 

V8-6 The Unfinished Symphony — Para. (10m.) . . .Jan. 13 

T8-6 My Friend the Monkev — B. Boop (6m.) Jan. 20 

R8-7 Two Boys and a Dog— Sport. (9^m.) Jan. 20 

E8-6 Customers Wanted — Popeye (7m.) Jan. 27 

K8-4 Land of Inca Memories — Color Cruise (9m.) .Jan. 27 
A8-7 Music Through the Years— Head. (10m.) ...Feb. 3 

P8-7 Paramount Pictorial #7— (8^m.) Feb. 3 

L8-4 Unusual Occupations 84 — (10m.) Feb. 3 

V8-7 That's Africa— Paragraphic (9m.) Feb. 10 

R8-8 Hold Your Breath— Sportlight (9m.) Feb. 17 

A8-8 Champagne Music of Lawrence Welk — 

Headliner (9 l / 2 min.) Mar. 3 

P8-8 Paramount Pictorial 88— (9^m.) Mar. 3 

V8-8 Circus Co-Ed— Paragraphic (9^m.) Mar. 10 

J8-4 Popular Science 84— (10m.) Mar. 10 

R8-9 The Sporting Irish— Sportlight (9j4m.) . . . .Mar. 17 
K8-5 Republic of Panama — Cruises (Sj/ 2 m.) ....Mar. 24 
T8-7 So Does an Automobile — Boop (6m.) (re.). Mar. 31 
A8-9 Three Kings and a Queen— Head. (10^m.) .Apr. 7 

P8-9 Paramount Pictorial 89— (9^m.) Apr. 7 

V8-9 Fisherman's Pluck — Paragraphic (9m.) Apr. 14 

R8-10 Good Skates— Sportlight (9m.) Apr. 14 

L8-5 Unusual Occupations 85 Apr. 14 

C8-4 Small Fry — Color Classic Apr. 21 

E8-7 Leave Well Enough Alone — Popeye (re.) ..Apr. 28 

Paramount — Two Reels 

EE8-1 Aladdin and His Wonderful Lamp — 

Technicolor Popeye special (2\ ! / 2 m.) ...Apr. 7 



RKO — One Reel 

94060 Gold— Reelism (9m.) Feb. 10 

94207 Readin' Ritin' and Rhythm— NuAtlas (10m.) Feb. 17 

94307 Snow Falls — Sportscope (9m.) Feb. 24 

94109 Practical Pig— Disney (8m.) Feb. 24 

94607 Air Waves— Reelism (10m.) Mar. 10 

94110 Goofy and Wilbur— Disney cart. (8m.) . . . .Mar. 17 

94208 Samovar Serenade — Musical (10m.) Mar. 17 

94308 Sporting Wings — Sportscope (9m.) Mar. 24 

94608 Soldiers of the Sea— Reelism Apr. 7 

94111 The Uglv Duckling— Disney cart. (9m.) ..Apr. 7 

94209 Hello Mama— NuAtlas Apr. 14 

94309 Not Yet Titled— Sportscope Apr. 21 

94112 Hockey Champ — Disney cartoon Apr. 28 

RKO — Two Reels 

93107 March of Time— (19m.) Feb. 17 

93603 Swing Vacation— Headliner (19m.) Feb. 24 

93704 Home Boner— Leon Errol— (20m.) Mar 10 

93108 March of Time— (18m.) Mar. 17 

93403 Clock Wise— Edgar Kennedv (16m.) Mar. 24 

93503 Ranch House Romeo— Rav Whitley (17m.). Apr. 7 

93109 March of Time Apr 14 

93203 Dog Gone— Radio Flash (16*/>m.) Apr. 21 



9303 
9510 

9105 
9527 
9603 
9511 
9304 
9512 
91 06 



Twentieth Century-Fox — One Reel 

Hunting Dogs— Sports (10j/>m.) Mar. 3 

Gandy Goose in G-Man Jitters — 

Terry-Toon (6]/ 2 min.) Mar. 10 

Mystic Siam — Lowell Thomas (10m.) Mar. 17 

The Nutty Network— Terry-Toon Mar. 24 

Fashion Forecasts No. 3 Mar. 31 

The Cuckoo Bird — Terry-Toon Apr. 7 

Inside Baseball — Sports Apr. 14 

Their Last Bean — Terry-Toon Apr. 21 

Good Neighbors — Lowell Thomas Apr. 28 



A3358 
A3250 
A3371 
A3359 
A3251 
A3252 
A3372 
A3253 
A3373 



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A3787 
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A3789 
A3228 
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A3229 
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A3883 
A3884 



Universal — One Reel 

Going Places With Thomas #60 — (10m.) . .Feb. 20 
Birth of a Toothpick — Lantz cart. (7'/ 2 m.) .Feb. 27 

Stranger Than Fiction $60 — (9m.) Mar. 6 

Going Places With Thomas £61 — (9m.) . . .Mar. 13 

Little Tough Mice — Lantz cart. (7m.) Mar. 13 

One Armed Bandit — Lantz cart. (7m.) .... Mar. 27 

Stranger Than Fiction #61 — (9m.) Apr. 3 

Crack Pot Cruise — Lantz cart. (6}^m.) . . .Apr. 10 
Stranger Than Fiction £62 May 1 

Universal — Two Reels 

Ghost Town Menace — Scouts 96 (20m.) . . .Feb. 21 
Destroyed by Dynamite— Scouts 97 ( 19m.) .Feb. 28 

Thundering Hoofs — Scouts $8 (17m.) Mar. 7 

The Fire God Strikes— Scouts $9 (18m.) . .Mar. 14 

Bank Notes — Mentone (19m.) Mar. 15 

Battle of Ghost Town — Scouts 810 (10m.) .Mar. 21 
Hurtling Through Space— Sc. 811 (20m.) . Mar. 28 
The Boy Scouts Triumph— Sc. Jtl2 (17m.) .Apr. 4 
Tomorrow's World — Rogers It 1 (21m.) ...Apr. 11 

Cafe Boheme — Mentone (17m.) Apr. 12 

Tragedy on Saturn — Rogers #2 (21m.) . . . .Apr. 18 
The Enemy's Stronghold — Rog. $3 (21m.) .Apr. 25 
The Sky Patrol— Rogers 54 ( 20m.) May 2 



NEWSWEEKLY 

NEW YORK 
RELEASE DATES 



Vitaphone — One Reel 

4506 Daffy Duck in Hollywood— Mer. Mel. (8m.) .Dec. 3 

4705 Happy Felton & Orch.— Mel. Mast. (10m.).. Dec. 3 
4304 Treacherous Waters — True Adv. (10m.) Dec. 10 

4904 Robbin' Good— Vit. Varieties (10m.) Dec. 10 

4805 Porky the Gob — Looney Tunes (8m.) Dec. 17 

4507 Count Me Out— Merrie Melodies (7m.) Dec. 17 

4706 Dave Apollon & Orch.— Mel. Mast. (11m.) . .Dec. 24 

4508 The Mice Will Play— Mer. Mel. (7m.) Dec. 31 

4605 Mechanix Illustrated 52 — Col. Par. (10m.) ..Jan. 7 
43'J5 Human Bomb — True Adv. (11m.) Jan. 7 

4707 Clyde Lucas & Orch.— Mel. Mast. (10m.) ...Jan. 7 

4806 The Lone Stranger & Porky — -L. Tunes (7m.). J an. 7 

4509 Doggone Modern — Mer. Mel. (7m.) Jan. 14 

4905 Ski Girl— Varieties (8m.) Jan. 14 

4708 Blue Barron & Orch.— Mel. Mast. (8m. ) . . . . Jan. 21 

4510 Ham-ateur Night— Mer. Mel. (8m.) Jan. 28 

4807 It's an 111 Wind— L. Tunes (7m.) Jan. 28 

4606 Points on Pointers — Color Par. (9m.) Jan. 28 

4709 Jerry Livingston & Orch.— Mel. M. (10m.).. Feb. 4 

4511 Robinhood Makes Good— Mer. Mel. (8m.) ..Feb. 11 

4306 High Peril— True Adv. (9m.) (re.J Feb. 18 

4808 Porky's Tire Trouble — L. Tunes (7m.) Feb. 18 

4906 Gadgeteers— Varieties (11m.) Feb. 18 

4403 The Master's Touch— Tech. Spec. (9m.) . . . .Feb. 18 

4607 Mechanix Illustrated S3— Color Par. ( 10m.) .Feb. 25 

4512 Goldrush Daze— Mer. Mel. (7m.) Feb. 25 

4710 Russ Morgan & Orch.— Mel. Mast. (9m.) ...Feb. 25 

4307 A Minute from Death— True Adv. (11m.) . . .Mar. 4 
4403 The Master's Touch— Tech. Spec. (9m.) Mar. 11 

4513 A Day at the Zoo— Mer. Mel. (8m.) Mar. 11 

4809 Porky's Movie Mystery— L. Tunes (7m.) . . .Mar. 11 

4907 Tax Trouble— Varieties (11m.) Mar. 18 

4712 Clyde McCoy & Orch.— Mel. Mast. (9m.) ..Mar. 18 

4608 The Roaming Camera — Color Par. (9m.) ...Mar. 25 

4514 Prest-o Change-o— Mer. Mel. (7m.) Mar. 25 

4308 Chained— True Adv. (11m.) Apr. 1 

4810 Chicken Jitters — Looney Tunes (614m.) ...Apr. 1 

4515 Bars and Stripes Forever — Mer. Mel. (8m.). Apr. 8 

4711 Dave Apollon & Orch.— Mel. Mast. (10m.).. Apr. 8 

4908 The Right Way— Varieties Apr. 15 

4811 Porkv and Teabiscuit — Looney Tunes Apr. 22 

4516 Daffy Duck & Dinosaur— Mer. Mel. (8m.) ..Apr. 22 

4609 Mechanix Illustrated #4 Apr. 22 

4713 Artie Shaw & Orch.— Mel. Mast Apr. 29 

Vitaphone — Two Reels 

4020 Sundae Serenade— Bway. Brev. (17m.) Feb. 25 

4022 Projection Room — Bwav. Brev. (19m.) ....Mar. 4 

4023 Home Cheap Home— Bway. Brev. (18m.) ...Mar. 18 

4024 A Fat Chance— Bwav. Brev. (18m.) Mar. 25 

4025 Rollin' in Rhythm— Bway. Brev. (18m.) Apr. 15 

4005 Sons of Liberty— Technicolor (21m.) Apr. 22 

4026 Seeing Spots — Pway. Brev Apr. 29 



Universal 



758 Saturday . . 

759 Wednesday 

760 Saturday . . 

761 Wednesday 

762 Saturday . . 

763 Wednesday 

764 Saturday . . 

765 Wednesday 

766 Saturday . . 

767 Wednesday 

768 Saturday . . 

769 Wednesday 

770 Saturday . . 



.Apr. 1 
..Apr. 5 
..Apr. 8 
..Apr. 12 
..Apr. 15 
. .Apr. 19 
. . Apr. 22 
. . Apr. 26 
. . Apr. 29 
, . May 3 
. . May 6 
. . May 10 
. .May 13 



Fox Movietone 

58 Saturday Apr. 1 

59 Wednesday ...Apr. 5 

60 Saturday Apr. 8 

61 Wednesday ...Apr. 12 

62 Saturday Apr. 15 

63 Wednesday . . .Apr. 19 

64 Saturday Apr. 22 

65 Wednesday . . . Apr. 26 

66 Saturday Apr. 29 

67 Wednesday . . . May 3 

68 Saturday May 6 

69 Wednesday . . .May 10 

70 Saturday May 13 

Paramount News 

69 Saturday Apr. 1 

70 Wednesday ...Apr. 5 

71 Saturday Apr. 8 

72 Wednesday ...Apr. 12 

73 Saturday Apr. 15 

74 Wednesady . . . Apr. 19 

75 Saturday Apr. 22 

76 Wednesday . . . Apr. 26 

77 Saturday Apr. 29 

78 Wednesday . . . May 3 

79 Saturday May 6 

80 Wednesday ...May 10 

81 Saturday May 13 



Metrotone News 



256 Saturday . . 

257 Wednesday 

258 Saturday . . 

259 Wednesday 

260 Saturday . . 

261 Wednesday 

262 Saturday . . 

263 Wednesday 

264 Saturday . . 

265 Wednesday 

266 Saturday . . 

267 Wednesday 

268 Saturday .. 



..Apr. 1 
..Apr. 5 
..Apr. 8 
. .Apr. 12 
..Apr. 15 
. .Apr. 19 
..Apr. 22 
. . Apr. 26 
..Apr. 29 
..May 3 
..May 6 
..May 10 
. . May 13 



Pathe News 



95173 

95274 
95175 
95276 
95177 
95278 
95179 
95280 
951 SI 
95282 
95183 
95284 
95185 



Sat. (O.). 

Wed. (E.) 
Sat. (O.). 
Wed. (E.) 
Sat. (O.). 
Wed. (E.) 
Sat. (O.). 
Wed. (E.) 
Sat. (O.). 
Wed. (E.) 
Sat. (O.). 
Wed. (E.) 
Sat. (O.). 



.Apr. 1 
. Apr. 5 
.Apr. 8 
.Apr. 12 
.Apr. 15 
.Apr. 19 
.Apr. 22 
.Apr. 26 
. Apr. 29 
.May 3 
. May 6 
. May 10 
.May 13 



IN TWO SECTIONS— SECTION ONE 

Entered as second-class matter January 4, 1921, at the post office at New York, New York, under the act of March 3, 1879. 

Harrison's Reports 

Yearly Subscription Rates: 1270 SIXTH AVENUE Published WeekJy by 

United States $15.00 R™ m 1 ftl 9 Harrison's Reports, Inc., 

U. S. Insular Possessions. 16.50 Publisher 

Canada 16.50 New York, N. Y. P. S. HARRISON, Editor 

Mexico, Cuba, Spain 16.50 . ,, _ _. . _ _ . 

Great Britain 15 75 A Motion Picture Reviewing Service 

Australia, New ' Zealand,' Devoted Chiefly to the Interests of the Exhibitors Established July 1, 1919 

India, Europe, Asia ... . 17.50 

p Its Editorial Policy: No Problem Too Big for Its Editorial Circle 7-4622 

„oc a. ^ovy Columns, if It is to Benefit the Exhibitor. 

A REVIEWING SERVICE FREE FROM THE INFLUENCE OF FILM ADVERTISING 

Vol. XXI SATURDAY, APRIL 15, 1939 No. 15 



FACTS MR. W. F. RODGERS MUST 
BEAR IN MIND 

From his testimony before the Subcommittee of the Sen- 
ate Committee on Interstate Commerce, which has con- 
ducted the hearings on the Neely Bill, one gathers the im- 
pression that Mr. W. F. Rodgers, de facto head of the 
distributor committee that has been negotiating with ex- 
hibitor representatives for trade reforms, has been irked 
because the Allied leaders have failed to accept the final 
reforms draft, which was submitted to them on the first day 
of April. Early last year Mr. Rodgers, having made a 
favorable impression with them for honesty of purpose and 
fair dealing, was given to understand that, if a distributor 
committee were appointed to negotiate with Allied for 
trade reforms, it would receive their support, provided he 
were to head such committee. And now he seems to be dis- 
appointed because Allied has failed to accept these reforms. 

For him to understand why Allied, in my personal opin- 
ion, has refused to accept the final distributor proposals, 
Mr. Rodgers must bear in mind several factors. 

The first factor is the mistake the distributors made in 
inviting into these conferences representatives of Motion 
Picture Theatre Owners of America. Mr. Rodgers was 
warned in the very beginning that, since this organization, 
the producers' stepchild, has been used by them to thwart 
the exhibitors in their efforts to obtain legislative relief, 
the dragging of it into the conferences would cause the 
confidence of the independent exhibitors in the producer 
sincerity to be destroyed ; the exhibitors would feel that 
the producers are not any more sincere now than they were 
in the past. 

The fact that the meetings with representatives of this 
organization were held separately does not seem to have 
made much difference ; the exhibitors know that this or- 
ganization is supported with producer money and cannot 
believe that the presence of its representatives in exhibitor- 
producer conferences for trade reforms would bring any 
benefit to the independent exhibitors. 

The second mistake was the fact that the distributor 
committee told the Allied committee, at the very first meet- 
ing, that discussion of block-booking and theatre-divorce- 
ment definitely and irrevocably would not be discussed. At 
that meeting, some members of the Allied committee felt 
that, what they should have done should be to take their 
hats and say to the members of the distributor committee : 
"Good day, gentlemen ! We'll see you in Washington," and 
go. There was no use, as they saw it, starting negotiations 
for trade reforms with a committee that had been instructed 
beforehand how much they were to give and how far they 
were to go, for under these circumstances they would be 
dealing with men who were not to determine what is fair 
and what unfair, but merely what has been decided upon. 
They have not yet forgotten the money Allied spent and 
the time it wasted during the 5-5-5 conferences. They had 
not doubted the sincerity of Mr. Kent then, just as they do 
not doubt the sincerity of Mr. Rodgers now, but since those 
efforts of theirs came to nothing, because the producers 
failed to adopt the reforms, they feared lest it be a repetition 
of what happened then. Hut others felt that another etT.n l 
was worth making ; and they stayed. 

Did the distributor-lawyers' dilatory tactics help mat- 
ters? Not at all; the exhibitor representatives saw that, 
instead of meeting men to men and deciding what is to be 
done to bring peace, they were dealing with the same law- 
yers who, from behind the scenes, have frustrated every 



independent exhibitor effort to come to an understanding 
with the producers. The fact that these lawyers have em- 
ployed the same tactics as before — obscurity of language, 
the effect of which would undoubtedly have been to take 
away with the left hand what the right hand gave, did not 
contribute to the building up of the confidence so necessary 
in negotiations of this kind. 

The misunderstanding as to whether there was or there 
was not "an agreement in principle" in Chicago, played up 
by some trade papers, further contributed to arouse suspi- 
cion in the minds of the Allied committee. Mr. Rodgers may 
not have been responsible for that— the misunderstanding 
may have been one of those natural happenings in life ; but 
it did not help. 

The failure of the distributors to come forward with an 
arbitration plan, so close to the heart of the Allied organi- 
zation, is an additional contributory cause. "... any pro- 
posals," last week's Allied statement said, "to merit con- 
sideration, must contain all the details of arbitration. ..." 

The other important factors Mr. Rodgers must take into 
consideration are these : 

The methods that were employed by Paramount to kill 
the theatre-divorcement law in North Dakota. 

The fact that Allied finds it difficult to let down the 
public groups that are seeking the enactment of the Neely 
Bill. Allied sought their cooperation in its efforts to have 
the Brookhart Bill, and afterwards the Neely Bill, enacted 
into a law by Congress. And they gave it unstintedly. How 
can it now say to these groups : "We are giving up our 
fight, because we have obtained a modicum of concessions 
in the selection of pictures"? It would not sound very well. 
After all, it was due to the aid the public groups have given 
to it that Allied was able to have the Neely Bill put through 
the Senate last year. And it has been the fear that the 
Neely Bill may, after all, become a law, that has prompted 
the producers to give as high a cancellation privilege as 
20% in some cases. Without the passage of the Neely Bill 
by the Senate, it is doubtful whether the producers would 
have gone so far. Consequently Allied is, in a way, under a 
moral obligation to these groups. 

The failure of the producers to offer to the exhibitors a 
solution of the problem of theatre ownership — a problem 
which Allied considers the root of all the trade abuses. As 
a matter of fact, the producers have refused, as said, even 
to discuss it, let alone to solve it. 

But the most important factor is the suit that the U. S. 
Government has brought against the producers. The Allied 
leaders undoubtedly feel that, since the producers have 
refused to discuss separation of theatres, and since the 
U. S. Government's action seeks to bring this about, they 
might just as well wait for the suit to be tried, in the mean- 
time offering to the Government whatever aid they can tor 
the winning of the suit. If the Government should win it, not 
only this but all the other abuses will be eradicated. 

An additional reason why Allied is willing, in the opinion 
of this paper, to wait for the Government's suit, even if the 
concessions the producers are now offering were to be 
highly satisfactory to the independent exhibitors, is the fact 
that it has no means to compel the distributors to adopt 
these reforms permanently. They no doubt feel that a 
change in administration in Washington may enable them 
to cancel these concessions. And who dares say that they 
will not cancel them under such circumstances? Hut they 
cannot disregard a court decision. 



58 



HARRISON'S REPORTS 



April 15, 1939 



"The Story of Alexander Graham Bell" 
with Don Ameche, Loretta Young 
and Henry Fonda 

(20th Century-Fox, April 14; time,96 1 /2 mm.) 

A pretty good box-office attraction. It is a fairly in- 
teresting drama revolving around the struggles of 
Alexander Graham Bell to perfect his telephone inven- 
tion; but the story does not concentrate entirely on the 
technical end, for the romance, enacted delightfully by 
Ameche and Miss Young, plays an important part in 
the development of Bell's career. The character of Bell, 
as portrayed by Ameche, is a fine one; he wins one's 
sympathy by his idealistic approach to his work. One 
of the most touching situations is that in which he is 
able to train a young boy, who was a deaf-mute, to 
utter the word "father" to his grieving parent. Henry 
Fonda, as an assistant, supplies the lighter mood by his 
constant grumbling because of the lack of food: — 

Bell, assisted by Thomas Watson (Henry Fonda), 
works under trying conditions to perfect a new tele- 
graphic invention. Through the aid of Thomas Sanders 
(Gene Lockhart), who appreciated the work Bell was 
doing in training his young son, a deaf-mute. Bell meets 
Gardner Hubbard (Charles Coburn), who shows will- 
ingness to finance Bell in his work. Bell falls in love 
with Hubbard's eldest daughter (Loretta Young), who 
was deaf. She did not consider it a handicap, however, 
for she was an expert lip-reader, and could thus hold 
regular conversations. Bell provokes Hubbard's criti- 
cism when he drops his work on the telegraph to devote 
his talents to a new invention, the telephone. Hubbard 
withdraws his financial aid, and forbids Bell to see his 
daughter. Discouraged by his inability to make prog- 
ress, and disheartened by being separated from the girl 
he loved, Bell is about ready to give up. But Miss Hub- 
bard visits him and insists that he go on with his work. 
Finally, at a public demonstration of the telephone, 
Hubbard is convinced of its practicability, and shows 
willingness to invest more money in it: at the same 
time he gives his consent to the marriage. Just when 
things begin to look bright, a rival company puts out a 
similar instrument. Bell and his partners bring a suit 
against them, and finally come out victorious. Bell is 
doubly happy, for not only was his business good, but 
he had become a father. 

Ray Harris wrote the story, and Lamar Trotti, the 
screen play; Irving Cummings directed it. and Ken- 
neth Macgowan produced it. In the cast are Spring 
Byington, Sally Blane, Polly Ann Young, Georgiana 
Young, Bobs Watson, and others. 

Suitability. Class A. 



"Bulldog Drummond's Secret Police" with 
John Howard and Heather Angel 

(Paramount, April 14; time, 54 min.) 

A fair program melodrama. The story is a little 
weaker than some of the others in this series; as a 
matter of fact, it is so thin, that in one situation, where 
the hero is supposed to be having a dream, exciting 
scenes from previous pictures have been inserted. The 
photography in some spots is so dark that it is difficult 
for one to see what is happening. It does, however, end 
in a thrilling way, — with an exciting chase through an 
eerie underground passage. One is held in suspense 
during these situations, because of the danger to the 
heroine, who was held as hostage by the villain. There 
is plentiful comedy, which is provoked by the blunder- 
ing efforts of the hero's friend. And again the marriage 
plans of the hero and the heroine are thwarted: — 

On the eve of his marriage. John Howard (Bulldog 
Drummond) receives a visit from a professor (For- 
rester Harvey). He is surprised when Harvey tells him 
that he had discovered, through research work, the 
fact that a treasure was hidden in an underground pas- 



sage under Howard's home; it had been hidden there 
by an ancestor. Crged by his fiancee (Heather Angel) 
not to look for trouble, Howard decides to let the 
matter go. But that night, he is attacked; and the book 
containing the secret code to the hiding place that he 
had been reading is stolen. And the professor is killed. 
It develops that the new butler (Leo Carroll), who had 
been engaged to assist at the wedding, was in reality an 
escaped criminal who knew about the professor's dis- 
covery. He kidnaps Miss Angel and forces her to go 
with him through the secret tunnel. By following in- 
structions, he finds the treasure. But Howard and his 
friends had found the secret entrance and had followed 
him. Carroll tries to trap the men; but Miss Angel, by 
throwing the treasure into the whirlpool beneath them, 
gets Carroll away from the lever controlling the iron 
door. She pulls the lever up, freeing the men. In a gun 
fight, Carroll is shot, falling to his death. Again the 
wedding is postponed; this time by an explosion. 

The plot was adapted from the story by H. C. Mc- 
Neile; Garnett Weston wrote the screen play; James 
Hogan directed it, and Edmund T. Lowe produced it. 
In the cast are H. B. Warner, Elizabeth Patterson, 
Reginald Denny, E. E. Give, and others. 

Suitability, because of the murder, Class B. 



"On Trial" with John Litel, Margaret 
L'ndsay and Janet Chapman 

{Warner Bros., April 1 ; time, (A min.) 

Just a moderately entertaining courtroom melo- 
drama, of program grade. Produced twice before (once 
in 1917 and again in 1928). the story, judging by present 
times, is rather old-fashioned. One feels sympathy for 
both the hero and the heroine, but this does not suffice 
to hold one's attention. A bad feature is the fact that 
murder is condoned; the hero is finally set free even 
though it was he who had committed the murder. In 
the picture produced in 1928, it was shown that the 
hero had been accused of the murder unjustly, the dead 
man's secretary being shown as the guilt}' person. The 
situation where little Janet Chapman testifies in court on 
behalf of her father is powerful; she speaks her lines so 
well, and acts with such emotional understanding, that 
the spectator is held spellbound. There is very little else 
to recommend it. The action takes place in a courtroom 
with flashbacks to tell the story: — 

John Litel suspects that his wife (Margaret Lind- 
say), whom he loved, had had an affair with James 
Stephenson, a friend of his. Litel goes to Stephenson's 
home and kills him. He is arrested. Since he refused to 
testify at the trial, the District Attorney sets up a case 
whereby he tries to prove that Litel had gone there 
with the intention of robbing Stephenson's safe of 
$20,000, and that, when Stephenson surprised him, he 
had killed him. Miss Lindsay who, shocked by the 
course of events, had been taken to a hospital, recovers 
sufficiently to go to court to testify for her husband. 
She tells the Court that, before she had met Litel, she 
had known Stephenson, who, unknown to her, had been 
married. She had arranged to elope with him. but had 
been saved by the timely arrival of Stephenson's wife 
(Nedda Harrigan). She had then married Litel, and 
had found happiness with him and their child. She had 
accidentally met Stephenson, who threatened to tell 
her husband lies about her unless she visited him at his 
summer home; she had gone there to plead with him to 
leave her alone. Litel had misunderstood and killed him. 
Litel's attorney then proves that the robbery had been 
committed by Stephenson's secretary. The jury finds 
Litel not guilty. 

The plot was adapted from the play by Elmer Rice; 
Don Ryan wrote the screen play, Terry Morse directed 
it. and Bryan Foy produced it. In the cast are Edward 
Norris, Larry Williams, William Davidson, and others. 

Unsuitable for children. Class B. 



April 15, 1939 



HARRISON'S REPORTS 



59 



"First Offenders" with Walter Abel, 
Beverly Roberts and Johnny Downs 

{Columbia, April 12; time, 61 min.) 
Just a moderately entertaining program melodrama. 
The story is in some respects unpleasant, for it revolves 
mainly around a young man for whom one feels little 
sympathy. The fact that he had killed his young sweet- 
heart under a suicide pact, losing courage when it came 
to killing himself, immediately brands him as a coward. 
His actions later cause one to feel even more dislike for 
him, since they are motivated by a desire for revenge 
on the District Attorney, who, in line with his duty, had 
brought about this young man's conviction on a charge 
of murder. One feels sympathy for the District Attor- 
ney, who gives up a career as a public prosecutor in 
order to help young men establish themselves as decent 
citizens. The romance is mildly pleasant: — 

Johnny Downs, after having served a term for the 
murder of his sweetheart, is released from prison; he 
heads for the farm for young men established by the 
former District Attorney (Walter Abel), who had 
prosecuted him, his intention being to kill him. But 
Abel stops him from doing this, and, instead, offers him 
his friendship. Downs decides to stay at the farm, but 
insists that he would get even with Abel in some way. 
His opportunity comes at a party given for the spon- 
sors of the farm; he steals the personal belongings of 
some of the guests. This causes an uproar, and the 
sponsors decide to withdraw their backing. Abel rushes 
after Downs and prevents him from joining forces with 
two crooks, who had planned a holdup. He takes him 
to the scene of the crime, to which the police had been 
tipped off; Downs breaks down when he sees the police 
shoot the two crooks. Ashamed of himself, he returns 
the things he had stolen. The sponsors once again back 
Abel, making every one, including Downs, happy. 

J. Edward Slater wrote the story, and Walter Wise, 
the screen play; Frank McDonald directed it. In the 
cast are Iris Meredith, Diana Lewis, John Hamilton, 
and others. 

Unsuitable for children or adolescents. Class B. 



"Streets of New York" with Jackie Cooper 
and Martin Spellman 

{Monogram, April 12; time, 72 min.) 

A very good entertainment; it centers around young 
boys of the streets. It has human interest, plentiful 
comedy, and some action of the gangster type. The 
performances by Jackie Cooper and Martin Spellman 
are outstanding; they win one's sympathy by their ac- 
tions. One's interest is held well, for the plot is de- 
veloped in a realistic manner. One of the most appeal- 
ing .situations is that depicting Christmas Day, in which 
young Spellman, who was crippled and had little faith 
in mankind, is made happy through the generosity of 
a kind Judge. There is no romance. 

In the development of the plot, Jackie Cooper, who 
ran a newsstand during the day and studied law at 
night, refuses to accept any help from his gangster 
brother (Dick I'urcell), even though he was tormented 
by a young hoodlum, who wanted to take his newsstand 
away. Cooper lives in a basement room with young 
Spellman, a crippled orphan newsboy, who worked for 
him; besides all his other work, he had undertaken to 
care for the boy. Cooper conies to the attention of a 
Judge (George Irving), whom he had impressed by his 
intelligence. The Judge invites Cooper, with all the 
boys who worked for him, to his home for Christmas 
dinner, surprising each one with a gift; this brings joy 
to them. But Cooper is downcast when he reads about 
the murderous activities of his brother. The brother 
gits into real trouble when he kills two persons in .in 



effort to compel the owner of a trucking concern to join 
his "protective" association. He tries to hide out in 
Cooper's room; but Cooper refuses to help him. In a 
fight with Cooper, Purcell shoots young Spellman; but 
he is captured through Cooper's help. Spellman even- 
tually recovers, and Cooper continues with his law 
studies. 

Robert Andrews wrote the original screen play; 
William Nigh directed it, and William T. Lackey pro- 
duced it. In the cast are Sidney Miller, Buddy Pepper, 
Bobby Stone, David Durand, Robert Emmctt Keane, 
Marjorie Reynolds, and others. 

Suitability, Class A. 



"Wuthering Heights" with Merle Oberon. 
David Niven and Laurence Olivier 

{United Artists, April 7 ; time, 97 mm.) 

From the production point of view, it is a fine artistic 
achievement. As entertainment, however, its appeal will 
be limited to class audiences. The acting, direction, and 
production are all excellent; but the story is so sombre 
and cheerless, that most persons will leave the theatre 
depressed. Although the plot has been altered radically, 
it still remains unpleasant in some respects, particularly 
in the characterization of the hero, whose desire for 
revenge brings suffering to several persons. Since the 
story is mainly a psychological study of two passionate 
characters, whose romance had been frustrated, the 
action is restricted mostly to talk; thus the picture be- 
comes somewhat draggy at times: — ■ 

A young boy, picked up in the streets of Liverpool by 
the generous owner of Wuthering Heights, an English 
manor house, is happy to be made one of the family. 
His benefactor's two children have different natures: 
the young daughter treats him as an equal, whereas the 
sullen young son is brutal toward him. When the father 
dies, the son humiliates the young boy by making him 
a stable hand. They grow up; the head of the house 
(Hugh Williams) had lost none of his brutal ways, 
making his stable hand (Laurence Olivier) miserable. 
\\ hat induced Olivier to remain was his passionate love 
for Williams' sister ( Merle Oberon), who felt the same 
way towards him. But Miss Oberon longed to get away 
from the dismal surroundings of her home; she is 
charmed by the gaiety and beauty of the life led by 
wealthy David Niven and his sister (Geraldine Fitz- 
gerald). Ol ivier, because of jealousy, quarrels with her 
about Niven. When he overhears Miss Oberon telling 
her maid (Flora Robson) that Niven had proposed to 
her, he leaves the house during a storm. Miss Oberon. 
frantic at the thought of losing him, follows him. She 
becomes seriously ill, and is nursed back to health at 
Niven's home. Eventually she marries Niven, and is 
quite happy until Olivier returns, a wealthy man. His 
one desire was to avenge himself on all those who had 
hurt him. By buying up all of Williams' gambling and 
drinking debts, he becomes the owner of Wuthering 
Heights, and torments Williams. Knowing that Miss 
Oberon still loved him as he loved her, he purposely 
tries to hurt her by marrying Niven's sister, whom he 
mistreats. Hearing that Miss Oberon was very ill, he 
rushes to her bedside; she dies in his arms. Overcome 
with grief, he becomes even more sullen and brutal. 
One night, hearing her calling to him, he follows her to 
their former meeting place, where he dies. 

The plot was adapted from the story by Emily 
Bronte. Ben Hecht and Charles MacArthur wrote the 
screen play; Willi. un Wyler directed it, and Samuel 
Goldwyn produced it. In the cast are Donald Crisp, 
Leo G. Carroll, Cecil Humphreys, Miles Mander, Ro- 
manic Callender, and others. 

Although there is nothing morally wrong, it is too 
sombre for children; best suited for adults, ( kiss H. 



oO 



April 15, 1939 



BOX-OFFICE PERFORMANCES OF 
1938-39 SEASON'S PICTURES— No. 2 

First National 

"Comet over Broadway," with Kay Francis, Ian Hunter, 
and John Litel ; produced by Bryan Foy and directed by 
Busby Berkeley, from a screen play by Mark Hellinger : 
Fair-Poor. 

"Heart of the North," with Dick Foran, Patric Knowles, 
Gale Page, and Gloria Dickson; produced by Bryan Foy 
and directed by Lewis Seiler, from a screen play by Lee 
Katz and Vincent Sherman : Good-Fair. 

"Going Places," with Dick Powell, Anita Louise, Harold 
Huber, and Allen Jenkins; produced by Benjamin Glazer 
and directed by Ray Enright, from a screen play by Mau- 
rice Leo, Jerry Wald, and Sig Herzig : Good-Fair. 

"Torcliy Blane in Chinatown," with Glcnda Farrell and 
Barton MacLane; produced by Bryan Foy and directed by 
William Beaudine, from a screen play by George Bricker : 
Fair-Poor. 

"Nancy Drew, Reporter," with Bonita Granville and 
Frankie Thomas, Jr. ; produced by Bryan Foy and directed 
by William Clemens, from a screen play by Carolyn Keene 
and Kenneth Garnet : Fair-Poor. 

"Yes, My Darling Daughter," with Priscilla Lane and 
Jeffrey Lynn; produced by Benjamin Glazer and directed 
by William Keighley, from a screen play by Casey Robin- 
son : Very Good-Good. 

Thirteen pictures have been released. Grouping the pic- 
tures of the different ratings from the beginning of the 
season, we get the following results : 

Excellent, 1 ; Excellent-Good, 1 ; Very Good-Good, 1 ; 
Very Good-Fair, 2; Good-Fair, 2; Fair, 1 ; Fair-Poor, 5. 

The first thirteen pictures in the 1937-38 season were 
rated as follows : 

Very Good-Good, 2; Good, 2; Good-Fair, 3; Fair, 5; 
Fair-Poor, 1. 

Metro-Gold wyn-Mayer 

"Out West with the Hardys," with Mickey Rooney, 
Lewis Stone, and Cecilia Parker ; directed by George B. 
Seitz, from a screen play by Kay Van Riper, Agnes C. 
Johnston, and William Ludwig : Excellent-Good. 

"Flirting with Fate," with Joe E. Brown and Beverly 
Roberts; produced by David Loevv and directed by Frank 
McDonald, from a screen play by Joseph M. March, Ethel 
LaBlanche, Charlie Melson, and Hary Clork : Good-Poor. 

"Dramatic School," with Luise Rainer, Paulette God- 
dard, and Alan Marshal ; produced by Mervyn LeRoy and 
directed by Robert B. Sinclair, from a screen play by 
Ernest Vajda and Mary McCall, Jr.: Good-Poor. 

"A Christmas Carol," with Reginald Owen, Gene Lock- 
hart, and Terry Kilburn; produced by Joseph Mankiewicz 
and directed by Edwin L. Marin, from a screen play by 
Hugo Butler: Good-Poor. 

"The Girl Downstairs," with Fran. hot Tone, Franciska 
Gaal, and Walter Connolly ; produced by Harry Rapf and 
directed by Norman Taurog, from a screen play by Harold 
Goldman, Felix Jackson, and Karl Noti : Good-Fair. 

"Sweethearts," with Jeanette MacDonald and Nelson 
Eddy ; produced by Hunt Stromberg and directed by W. S. 
VanDyke, from a screen play by Dorothy Parker and Alan 
Campbell : Excellent- Very Good. 

"Stand Up and Fight." with Robert Taylor, Wallace 
Beery, and Florence Rice ; produced by Mervyn LeRoy 
and directed by W. S. VanDyke II, from a screen play by 
James H. Cain, Jane Murfin, and Harvey Ferguson: 
Excellent-Good. 

"Burn 'Em Up O'Connor," with Dennis O'Keefe, Cecilia 
Parker, and Nat Pendelton ; produced by Harry Rapf and 
directed by Edward Sedgwick, from a screen play by- 
Milton Merlin and Byron Morgan: Fair-Poor. 

"Idiot's Delight," with Norma Shearer and Clark Gable; 
produced by Hunt Stromberg and directed by Clarence 
Brown, from a screen play by Robert E. Sherwood: 
Excellent-Fair. 

"Four Girls in White." with Florence Rice, Alan Mar- 
shal. Ann Rutherford, and Kent Taylor; produced by Nat 
Levine and directed by S. Sylvan Simon, from a screen 
play by Dorothy Yost : Good-Fair. 

"Honolulu," with Robert Young, Eleanor Powell, 
George Burns, and Gracie Allen; produced by Jack Cum- 
mings and directed by Edward Buzzell, from a screen play 
I ;, Herbert Fields and Frank Partos : Very Good-Good. 

"The Adventures of Huckleberrv Finn," with Mickey 
Rooney, Walter Connolly, and William Frawley ; pro- 
duced by Joseph L. Mankiewicz and directed by Richard 
Thorpe, from a screen play by Hugo Butler : Very Good- 
Good. 

"Fast and I^oose," with Robert Montgomery and Rosa- 
lind Russell : produced by Frederick Stephani and directed 



by Edwin L. Marin, from a screen play by Harry Kurnitz : 
Good- Fair. 

Twenty-four pictures have been released. Grouping the 
pictures of the different ratings from the beginning of the 
season, we get the following results: 

Excellent- Very Good, 3; Excellent-Good, 2; Excellent- 
Fair, 1 ; Very Good-Good, 4 ; Very Good-Fair, 1 ; Good, 1 ; 
Good-Fair, 8; Good- Poor, 3; Fair-Poor, 1. 

The first twenty-four pictures in the 1937-38 season were 
rated as follows : 

Excellent-Good, 1 ; Very Good-Good, 8; Good, 6; Good- 
Fair, 8 ; Fair, 1. 

Paramount 

"Arrest Bulldog Drummond," with John Howard, 
Heather Angel, and Reginald Denny ; produced by Stuart 
Walker and directed by James Hogan, from a screen play 
by Stuart Palmer : Fair-Poor. 

"Say It in French," with Olympe Bradna, Ray Milland, 
and Mary Carlisle; produced and directed by Andrew L. 
Stone, from a screen play by Frederick Jackson : Good- 
Poor. 

"Little Orphan Annie," with Ann Gillis, Robert Kent, 
and June Travis ; produced by John Speaks and directed by 
Ben Holmes, from a screen play by Budd Wilson Schul- 
berg and Samuel Ornitz : Fair-Poor. 

"Ride a Crooked Mile," with Akim Tamiroff, Frances 
Farmer, and Leif Erikson; produced by Jeff Lazarus and 
directed by Alfred E. Green, from a screen play by Ferdi- 
nand Reyher and John C. Moffitt : Fair. 

"The Frontiersman," with William Boyd and George 
Hayes ; produced by Harry Sherman and directed by 
Lesley Selander, from a screen play by Norman Houston : 
Good-Fair. 

"Tom Sawyer, Detective," with Billy Cook and Donald 
O'Connor ; directed by Louis King, from a screen play by 
Lewis Foster, Robert Yost, and Stuart Anthony : Good- 
Poor. 

"Artists and Models Abroad," with Jack Benny and 
Joan Bennett; produced by Arthur Hornblow, Jr., and 
directed by Mitchell Leisen, from a screen play by Howard 
Lindsay, Russell Crouse, and Ken Englund : Good-Fair. 

"Disbarred," with Gail Patrick, Otto Kruger, and 
Robert Preston ; directed by Robert Florey, from a screen 
play by Lillie Hayward and Robert R. Presnell : Fair-Poor. 

"Zaza," with Claudctte Colbert and Herbert Marshall ; 
produced by Albert Lewis and directed by George Cukor, 
from a screen play by Zoe Akins : Fair-Poor. 

"Ambush," with Gladys Swarthout, Lloyd Nolan, and 
Ernest Truex ; produced by William Wright and directed 
by Kurt Neumann, from a screen play by Laura and S. J. 
Perelman : Fair-Poor. 

"Paris Honeymoon," with Bing Crosby, Akim Tamiroff, 
Shirley Ross, and Franciska Gaal; produced by Harlan 
Thompson and directed by Frank Tuttle, from a screen 
play by Frank Butler and Don Hartman : Good-Fair. 

"St. Louis Blues," with Dorothy Lamour and Lloyd 
Nolan ; produced by Jeff Lazarus and directed by Raoul 
Walsh, from a screen play by John C. Moffitt and Malcolm 
S. Boylan : Very Good-Fair. 

"Persons in Hiding," with J. Carrol Naish, Lynne Over- 
man, and Patricia Morison ; produced by Edward T. Lowe 
and directed by Louis King, from a screen play by William 
R. Lipman and Horace McCoy : Good-Poor. 

"Boy Trouble," with Charlie Ruggles and Mary Boland ; 
directed by George Archainbaud, from a screen play by 
Laura and S. J. Perelman : Good-Poor. 

"One Third of a Nation," with Sylvia Sidney and Leif 
Erikson ; produced by Harold Orlob and directed by Dud- 
ley Mr-phy, from a screen play by Oliver H. P. Garrett: 
Fair-Poor. 

"Sunset Trail," with William Boyd and George Hayes; 
produced by Harry Sherman and directed by Lesley Se- 
lander, from a screen play by Norman Houston : Good. 

"Cafe Society," with Fred MacMurray, Madeleine Car- 
roll, and Shirley Ross ; produced by Jeff Lazarus and di- 
rected by W. H. Griffith, from a screen play by Virginia 
VanUpp: Very Good-Fair. 

"The Beachcomber," with Charles Laughton ; produced' 
and directed by Erich Pommer, from a screen play by 
Bartlctt Cormack : Very Good-Fair. 

Thirty-one pictures have been released. Grouping the 
pictures of the different ratings from the beginning of the 
season, we get the following results : 

Very Good-Good, 3 ; Very Good-Fair, 4 ; Good, 1 ; Good- 
Fair, 8 ; Good-Poor, 5; Fair, 2; Fair-Poor, 8. 

The first thirty-one pictures of the 1937-38 season were 
rated as follows : 

Excellent-Very Good, 1 ; Excellent-Good, 1 ; Very Good, 
1; Very Good-Good, 1; Very Good-Fair, 1; Good, 3; 
Good-Fair, 5; Good-Poor, 1; Fair, 9; Fair-Poor, 5; 
Poor, 3. 



IN TWO SECTIONS— SECTION TWO 60A 

HARRISON'S REPORTS 



VoL XXI NEW YORK. N. Y„ APRIL 15, 1939 No. 13 

The Accuracy of the 1938-39 Season s Forecasts 



Of the 145 stories that were forecast in the 
beginning of the season, sixty have been pro- 
duced up to the time of going to press. 

The average accuracy of the Forecaster this 
season has been 96%. 

The following table indicates the number of 
pictures forecast out of each company's work, 
and the percentage of accuracy : 



Number Number Percentage 
of Pictures of Points of Accuracy 



Columbia 


2 


180 


90% 


MGM 


9 


870 


96% 


Monogram . . . 


2 


200 


100% 


Paramount . . . 


10 


980 


98% 













RKO 


10 


940 


94% 


20thC.-Fox .. 


5 


460 


92% 


United Artists 


8 


760 


95% 


Universal 


4 


380 


95% 


Warner-F. N. . 


10 


1000 


100% 


Total 


60 


5770 


96% 



Columbia 

"Let Us Live," forecast under the title, "Is 
This the Law?": The forecast said: "This 
should make a very good gangster melodrama, 
the kind that should hold the spectator's atten- 
tion throughout . : . should fare very well at the 
box-office. It will, however, be strictly adult 
fare." The picture turned out a strong but grim 
melodrama; and, even though it holds one in 
suspense, it is not pleasant entertainment, for 
the story is harrowing. Accuracy 80%. 

"You Can't Take It With You" : The forecast 
said: "There is no doubt that Columbia intends 
to produce this as a 'big* picture. . . . And with 
such good players . . . there is no reason why 
this should no* turn out very good in quality." 
It turned out very good. Accuracy 100%. 

Average Accuracy 90%. 

Metro-Gold wyn-Mayer 

"Sweethearts" : The forecast said : "This play 
possesses the necessary elements for a musical 
picture of a quality anywhere from good to very 
good, with very good to excellent box office 
performance because of the leads." It turned 
out as predicted. Accuracy 100%. 

"Marie Antoinette": The forecast said: "The 



picture will, no doubt, tarn out excellent in 
quality. As to its box office performance, it will 
depend on how popular is yet Miss Shearer. . . . " 
The picture turned out excellent in quality, and 
did from very good to good at the box-office. 
Accuracy 100%. 

"Idiot's Delight" : The forecast said : " . . . The 
story material, however, is not so 'hot' for pic- 
ture purposes MGM will undoubtedly alter 

the material radically there is no donbt that 

the picture will turn out anywhere from very 
good to excellent in quality." Accuracy 100%. 

"The Shining Hour" : The forecast said : "The 
material, from the point of view of action, is not 
bad, for there is something doing at all times; 
its drawback lies in the fact that it is not pleas- 
urable. Alterations in plot as well as in charac- 
terizations must be made. . . . Without such al- 
terations the picture may turn out only a fair 
entertainment." The picture turned out a strong 
drama, but not pleasurable entertainment be- 
cause of the conflict between two brothers and 
the wife of one. Accuracy 100%. 

u "The Great Waltz": The forecast said: 
"MGM intends, no doubt, to make a big picture 

out of this material The picture should turn 

out from a very good to excellent operetta." It 
turned out as predicted. Accuracy 100%. 

"Stand Up and Fight": The forecast said: 
"This should turn out a very good action pic- 
ture, with particular appeal to action fans." It 
turned out just as predicted. Accuracy 100%. 

"Dramatic School": The forecast said: "This 
story offers an opportunity for a picture with 
considerable human appeal. . . . With capable 
players this should turn out from good to very 
good, with similar box-office results, or better, 
if popular actors are given the leads." Although 
the picture was given a good production with 
capable performances by well-known players, 
it turned out limited in appeal, for it lacked 
comedy and human appeal. Accuracy 70%. 

"The Citadel": The forecast said: This is a 
powerful drama . . . should turn out from very 
good to excellent, with similar box-office re- 
sults." It turned out exactly as predicted. Accu- 
racy 100%. 

"Too Hot to Handle": The forecast said: 
"The material offers chances for a thrilling 
melodrama . . . should turn out a very good pic- 
ture." It turned out a-very good melodrama with 
plentiful thrills. Accuracy 100%. 

Average Accuracy 96%. 



60B 



HARRISON'S REPORTS 



April 15, 1939 



Monogram 

"Under the Big Top," forecast under the tide 
"Circus Lady ': The forecast said: " Pictures 
with circus backgrounds have become too fa- 
miliar to picture-goers to prove exciting. . . . 
This should turn out a fair picture." It turned 
out just a fair entertainment. Accuracy 1007c 

"Mr. Wong, Detective': The forecast said: 
"This should make a fast-moving melodrama 
and. where Sons Karloff is still popular, it 
should do good business." It turned out a good 
program murder-mystery melodrama. Accu- 
racy 100%. 

"Star Reporter": This picture is not counted 
in, because the story was changed altogether. 

Average Accuracy 100%. 

Paramount 

"If I Were King": The forecast said: "The 
picture will, no doubt, turn out either excellent 
or very good in quality. But . . . each exhibitor, 
in determining its box-office value, must take 
into consideration the reception costume plays 
are given by his patrons." The picture turned 
out very good. Accuracy 100%. 

"King of Alcatraz" : The forecast said : "This 
should turn out a good melodrama; its box- 
office value will depend on the popularity of the 
players." It turned out as predicted. Accuracy 
100%. 

"Ride a Crooked Mile," forecast under the 
title, "Escape From Yesterday": The forecast 
said: "This should make a good picture; but. 
with the cast mentioned, it is doubtful if it will 
do more than fair to fairly good at the box- 
office." It turned out just as predicted. Accu- 
racy 100%. 

"Men With Wings" : The forecast said : "This 
should make a good melodrama. This offers ma- 
terial for a good melodrama, with the thrills 
coming from the flying scenes. Milland and 
Miss Campbell both win one's sympathy, but 
MacMurray, not so much, because of the fact 
that he leaves his family. ..." It turned out 
exactly as predicted. Accuracy 100%. 

"Touchdown, Army": The forecast said: 
'This is a typical routine football story, no bet- 
ter or worse than the general run of pictures of 
this type. It should make a fairly good program 
college football picture." It turned out just an- 
other college football picture. Accuracy 100%. 

"Sing, You Sinners" : The forecast said : "A 
delightful story, with a chance for comedy, ro- 
mance, and music. This shouid turn out very 
good, with similar box-office results." The pic- 
ture turned out just as predicted. Accuracy 
100%. 

"St. Louis Blues" : The forecast said : "A 
great deal will depend on the music and enter- 
tainers, for the story itself is simple. . . . Para- 
mount has a chance to make this a good picture. 
Exhibitors will have to judge its box-office value 
by what popularity Raft and Miss Lamour have 
in their individual locality.'' George Raft did not 



appear in the picture. It turned out a fairly good 
entertainment. Accuracy 100%. 

"Arkansas Traveler": The forecast said: "It 
should give Bob Burns a chance to spurt some 
of his homespun philosophical remarks, which 
usually set audiences to laughing . . . shouid 
make a good picture, with human interest and 
excitement. Its box-office value will depend on 
Bob Burns' popularity in each locality.'* It 
turned out just as predicted. Accuracy 100%. 

"Artists and Models Abroad": The forecast 
said: "This should turn out very good to excel- 
lent, with similar box-office results." It turned 
out just a good comedy with music Accuracy 
80%. 

"Campus Confessions'": The forecast said: 
"A typical college athletic story — .A fair pro- 
gram picture; it may have better than average 
box-office possibilities if the basketball angle is 
exploited." It turned out a typical college pro- 
gram picture, with the only novelty being that 
basketball was employed instead of, football as 
the college sport. Accuracy 100%. 

Average Accuracy 98%. 

RKO 

"Twelve Crowded Hours,'* forecast under the 
title, "What's Your Number?": The forecast 
said : "This should make a good program gang- 
ster melodrama, suitable for adults." It turned 
out just as predicted. Accuracy 100%. 

"Fugitives for a Night": The forecast said: 
"This should make a fair program melodrama, 
with fair results at the box-office." It turned out 
just a fair program picture. Accuracy 100%. 

"The Saint Strikes Back": The forecast said : 
"This should make a good melodrama." It 
turned out an engrossing program melodrama. 
Accuracy 100%. 

"Pacific Liner": The forecast said: "Pretty 
exciting material although not very pleasurable 
. . . should make a pretty good picture, with the 
results at the box-office depending on Victor 
McLaglen's popularity." It turned out a pretty 
depressing melodrama. Accuracy 70%. 

"A Man to Remember": The forecast said: 
"There is considerable human appeal in this 
story . . . should make a good program human- 
interest picture" It turned out just as predicted. 
Accuracy 100%. 

"Mr. Doc die Kicks Off: The forecast said: 
"A typical college football story; it should, 
however, have more comedy than most because 

of the part Joe Penner plays should turn out 

a pretty good program football comedy." It 
turned out an amusing college program football 
picture, more entertaining than the average pic- 
ture of that type because of Mr. Penner's antics. 
Accuracy 100%. 

"Gunga Din": The forecast said: "This 
should make an exciting adventure melodrama. 
Considering the players listed, it should do very 
well at the box-office." Accuracy 100%. 



April 15, 1939 



HARRISON'S REPORTS 



60C 



"Sixty Glorious Years": The forecast said: 
"There is no doubt that the quality of this pic- 
ture will be excellent. . . . But as to its box-office 
value, exhibitors may judge by the success they 
had with 'Victoria the Great.' " The picture 
turned out excellent in quality, but doubtful as 
to box-office possibilities. Accuracy 100%. 

"The Mad Miss Manton": The forecast said: 
"A typical murder mystery melodrama for 
which there is a ready market. . . . This should 
make a good comedy-melodrama, with similar 
box-office results." It turned out good. Accu- 
racy 100%. 

"Room Service" : The forecast said : " . . . Con- 
sidering that the Marx Brothers will appear in 
it, this should turn out very good, with similar 
box-office results." It turned out only a good 
comedy, with good-fair box-office results. Accu- 
racy 70%. 

Average Accuracy 94%. 

Twentieth Century-Fox 

"The Little Princess": The forecast said: 
"The story is up Shirley's 'alley,' and with good 
direction and a competent supporting cast there 
is no reason why Twentieth Century-Fox 
should not make a deeply appealing picture, 
with very good to excellent box-office results." 
The picture turned out just as predicted. Accu- 
racy 100%. 

"Alexander's Ragtime Band": The forecast 
said: "There is no doubt that Mr. Zanuck ex- 
pects to make this both lavish and tuneful It 

should turn out from very good to excellent, 
both in quality and box-office performance.'* 
It turned out just as predicted. Accuracy 100%. 

"Just Around the Corner," forecast under the 
title, "Lucky Penny" : The forecast said : "There 
is plentiful human appeal in this story. . . . The 
story offers material for an appealing picture, 
with music and comedy. Given careful produc- 
tion, as Shirley's pictures usually are, this 
should turn out very good entertainment, with 
equal success at the box-office." It turned out 
just a good picture. Accuracy 80%. 

"My Lucky Star": The forecast said: "The 
story is simple ; but, what is most important, it 
otters Miss Henie an opportunity to show her 
skill as a skater once again. ... If Twentieth 
Century-Fox should cast a well-known player 
with Miss Heme, there is no reason why this 
should not turn out very good." It turned out 
just a fair picture, with good box-office results. 
Accuracy 80%. 

"Suez" : The forecast said : "There is no doubt 
that, with such a story to work with, Mr. Zanuck 
will give this an extremely lavish production. 
. . . The story is powerful in itself; aided by a 
lavish production and popular stars, there is no 
reason why it should not turn out very good, 
with similar box-office results." It turned out 
as predicted. Accuracy 100%. 

Average Accuracy 92%. 



United Artists 

"The Young in Heart": The forecast said: 
"This story is a little different and offers an op- 
portunity for considerable comedy and heart- 
warming situations . . . should turn out a very 
good picture, with similar box-office results." 
It turned out a delightful comedy with consid- 
erable human appeal. Accuracy 100%. 

"The Duke of West Point": The forecast 
said : "This story has been written by the same 
man who wrote 'Navy Blue and Gold.' In that 
picture he revealed himself as a man who under- 
stood human nature and was capable of writing 
a story that had human appeal, emotion-stirring 

situations, and comedy This should turn out 

a very good picture." It turned out a very good 
entertainment. Accuracy 100%. 

"Made for Each Other" : The forecast said : 
"... there is opportunity for drama and emo- 
tional appeal, . . . the two leading characters win 
one's sympathy. . . . With two such popular 
players .... the picture should turn out very 
good, with similar box-office results." The pic- 
ture turned out a very good drama with deep 
emotional appeal. Accuracy 100%. 

"King of the Turf: The forecast said: "Sto- 
ries revolving around race tracks do not, as a 
rule, appeal as much to women as they do to 
men. Nor is the theme of showing a man's rise 
to riches by means of gambling particularly 
edifying. The production will, no doubt, be lav- 
ish, and the picture may turn out good. But as to 
its box-office value, despite Adolphe Menjou's 
popularity, his name is not strong enough to 
lure crowds to the box-office." Although several 
changes were made in the story, it still remained 
just a fairly good racetrack picture. Accuracy 
100%. 

"The Cowboy and the Lady": The forecast 
said: "Nice material, and with good treatment, 
it should make a picture either very good or 
good in quality, with similar box-office results." 
It turned out just a fairly good romantic com- 
edy. Accuracy 80%. 

"There Goes My Heart" : The forecast said : 
"This should make an entertaining, heart-warm- 
ing comedy. And, considering the players 
named, it should do well at the box-office." It 
turned out just a fairly good comedy. Accuracy 
80%. 

"Topper Takes a Trip": The forecast said: 
"This should be a lavish production. . . . But, 
since it is along the same order as the first pic- 
ture, its box-office appeal will be limited to those 
who enjoy fantastic comedies." It turned out 
just as predicted. Accuracy 100%. 

"Wuthering Heights": The forecast said: 
"Powerful material but unpleasant, for ven- 
geance runs through the story almost to the 
very closing scenes. Heathcliff is certainly a 
highly unpleasant character . . . will make a 
very powerful drama, but highly unpleasant en- 
tertainment." Although the story was altered in 
many respects, it turned out just as predicted, 
for the character of Heathcliff was left unpleas- 
ant- Accuracy 100%. 

Average Accuracy 95%. 



60D 



HARRISON'S REPORTS 



April 15, 1939 



Universal 

"Youth Takes a Fling-": The forecast said: 
"Universal has a fine piece of property in this 
story, which fits exceedingly well Andrea 
Leeds' ability to express emotion . . . there is no 
reason why Universal should not make a picture 
either very good or excellent in quality, with 
similar box-office results." It turned out an en- 
tertaining romantic comedy, but only good in 
quality. Accuracy 80%. 

"One Exciting Night," forecast under the 
title, "Adam's Evening": The forecast said: 
"The material lends itself to a rollicking farce. 
. . . If the story should be given to a producer 
and to a director who understand farce-comedy 
work, there is no reason why the picture should 
not turn out anywhere from good to very good 
in quality." It turned out a good comedy. Accu- 
racy 100%. 

"Freshman Year" : The forecast said : "This 
should turn out a pleasant college comedy with 
music, doing iairly well at the box-office." It 
turned out just as predicted. Accuracy 100%. 

"That Certain Age," forecast under the title, 
"First Love": Although the names of the au- 
thors of the finished product and of the story 
forecast are not the same, Harrison's Forecaster 
is taking credit on this because the basic idea of 
a young girl's falling in love with an older man 
is'the same. The forecast said: "... Jackie's 
adolescent love for Allan, if handled properly, 
should touch one's heart. The characters are all 
fine and generous, even Allan; the fact that he 
does not suspect that Jackie loved him is in his 
favor. . . . And, of course, there is plentiful op- 
portunitv for music." Considering that this was 
the main idea of the finished product, it turned 
out as predicted. Accuracy 100%. 

Average Accuracy 95%. 

Warner-First National 

"The Amazing Dr. Clitterhouse" : The fore- 
cast said: "As a comedy, 'The Amazing Dr. 
Clitterhouse' should turn out good to very good 
in quality, with its box-office performance de- 
pending on Mr. Robinson's popularity. It should 
draw well if produced as a comedy-melodrama." 
It turned out a good comedy-melodrama. Accu- 
racy 100%. 

"Brother Rat" : The forecast said : "The play 
is very good, and Warner Bros, should not have 
any trouble in making a very good picture out of 
it, with the box-office results depending on the 
popularity of the two stars." It turned out just 
as predicted. Accuracy 100%. 

"Heart of the North": The forecast said: 
"This should make a good outdoor melodrama, 
with plentiful exciting action. Its box-office per- 
formance will depend on George Brent's popu- 



larity." It turned out a good outdoor action 
melodrama. Accuracy 100%. 

"Garden of the Moon": The forecast said: 
"This is another one of those musicals that de- 
pends on lavish settings and popular tunes to put 
it over, for there is not much to the story ... it 
should turn out good as a musical. And, consid- 
ering the players already announced, it has a 
good chance to do well at the box-office." It 
turned out an entertaining comedy with music 
Accuracy 100%. 

"Four Daughters," forecast under the title, 
"The Sister Act": "The material is powerfully 
dramatic . . . Warner Bros, has an excellent 
piece of property in this one and, handled by a 
competent director, the picture should turn out 
either excellent or very good, both in quality 
and box-office performance" It turned out just 
as predicted- Accuracy 100%. 

"The Valley of the Giants": The forecast 
said : "The action in this book is virile, and since 
the giant redwood trees are used as a back- 
ground, it is impressive Subject matter with 

such a background lends itself to the purpose 
admirably. Consequently the picture should 
turn out very good." It turned out a very good 
entertainment. Accuracy 100%. 

"Boy Meets Girl": The forecast said: "The 
outcome of this material will depend a great 
deal on handling of script. A good script writer 
can retain the comedy. There is the possibility 
that it may turn out a very good entertainment." 
It turned out very good as an entertainment, 
although not so good in box-office results. Accu- 
racy as to quality 100%. 

"The Sisters" : The forecast said : "If the sex 
angle should be cleaned up, and a more inter- 
related plot evolved out of the story, it should 
make a good picture ... As it now stands, it 
may turn out either fairly good or good in qual- 
ity, with good to very good at the box-office" 
Accuracy 100%. 

"Yes, My Darling Daughter": The forecast 
said: "The story is lightweight, but there is 
enough action to interest one constantly. Many 
of the situations offer an opportunity for com- 
edy." It turned out a good comedy. Accuracy 
100%. 

"You Can't Get Away With Murder," fore- 
cast under the title "Chalked Out": The fore- 
cast said: "Warner Bros, has a good piece of 
property in this stage play, and with the experi- 
ence its studio has had in prison-life dramas 
there is no reason why the producer who will be 
assigned to produce this picture will not make 
a good or very good one with it, faring well to 
very well at the box-office" It turned out a good 
prison melodrama and should do well at the 
box office Accuracy 100%. 

Average Accuracy 100%. 



Entered as second-class matter January 4, 1921, at the post office at New York, New York, under the act of March 3, 1879. 



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Vol. XXI SATURDAY, APRIL 22, 1939 No. lb 



The Opposition's Statemen 

At the time of writing this editorial, the hearings on the 
Neely Bill conducted by the Sub-Committee of the Senate 
Committee on Interstate Commerce were continued, but 
they would no doubt be completed early this week. 

The arguments the producers have advanced in opposi- 
tion to the bill are not much different from the arguments 
thej advanced at other hearings, except that this time the 
loss of foreign business was injected, by Mr. Kent. 

Some of the statements made against the bill, taken from 
The ! : iiin Daily, are the following : 

"The Bill tears down and destroys ; it does not build." 

"This Bill would destroy the Motion Picture Code." 

' Block-booking is a trade expression; it means whole- 
sale selling and nothing else." 

"We must maintain what we have left of our market." 

"Pictures cannot be sold one at a time." 

"I have heard of few failures of theatres during the de- 
pression." 

"The Bill is against the interests of the moviegoers. It 
would throttle an industry that has given ever)' American 
town . . . the privilege of foreign travel, plus entertainment, 
at the price of an ice-cream soda." 

"For 15 years I have waited in vain, in spite of general 
charges, to see someone submit a list of constantly talked of 
independents who have been put put of business by block- 
booking and blind-selling." 

"Since when has the right to buy as you want and what 
you want become more sacred under the Constitution than 
the right to chose your own customer?" 

"I do believe that the majority of independent exhibitors 
of this country would rather have the result of these trade 
conferences as a remedy than the bill which is offered here." 

"When tl lese prodticers are forced to make only sure-shot 
commercial pictures this business is going backward, not 
forward." 

"As drawn, the measure is not constructive." 

"Trade practice program and not legislation would best 
protect the interests of the public and the exhibitors." 

"The proposed law has nothing to do with prohibiting 
the exhibiting of any films of any character whatsoever . . . 
in fact, this law does not prevent the showing of entirely 
immoral pictures." 

"The public is also encouraged to buy blindly." 

"The Bill . . . hamstrings the American system of free 
enterprise." 

"It does not help a theatre owner who may be persuaded 
to cancel an announced picture because of local objections. 
He has already made a contract agreement to pay for the 
film. The Act docs not provide any option to cancel the pic- 
ture after it is licensed." 

"It forces the distributor to raise wholesale prices to an 
artificial level under criminal penalties." 

"It takes away the responsibility on the producer, where 
it rightly belongs, to maintain moral standards in pictures, 
and seeks tn put the entire responsibility on the local ex- 
hibitors scattered throughout the country, without offering 
to the exhibitor an option to cancel pictures as they are 
bi 1 1 iked." 

After reading these statements you will wonder whether 
there has been something wrong with you, for according to 
them the millenium has been here all alons and you have 
not been aware of it. 

It is hardly necessary for me to tell you that some of 
these statements are highly exaggerated. For instance, the 



at the Neely Bill Hearings 

committee members were told that few exhibitors have gone 
out of business as a result of the prevailing block-booking 
system. Of course, to take a census of the number of 
theatres that have gone out of business as a result of this 
system requires the expenditure of considerable money. 
And no exhibitor organization has money to spend for such 
a purpose. 

But it is not fair for them to ask for a list of the theatres 
that have gone out of business as a result of the block- 
booking system ; what they should have asked for is a list 
of the theatres that have been sold and resold innumerable 
times, for once a theatre is built it i;. hardly ever kept 
closed : when the owner of it finds it impossible to conduct 
it profitably he sells it to some other ambitious person. And 
the next proprietor does the same thing when he, too, finds 
out that he cannot make it go, and so on. It is this sort of 
information that would have enlightened the Committee. 

And do the producers need some one else to furnish them 
with such a list ? 

Of course, they may say that an exhibitor's inability to 
make his theatre yield a profit is not caused by the block- 
booking system, but either by over-seating or by natural 
competition ; but if he had the right to choose the best pic- 
tures of each producer he would be able to conduct it profit- 
ably. No matter in how many theatres a meritorious picture 
has been shown ; there are always people who have not seen 
it. At any rate he does better with them than with some of 
the mediocre pictures he is compelled to buy from a pro- 
ducer in order for him to get the few good ones. 

And not only is he unable to buy what he wants, but he 
is confronted with unfair circuit competition ; for the cir- 
cuits, by using their influence as well as their buying power, 
obtain protection so unreasonable that the pictures become 
worthless when their competitors get them. Let the market 
be free, and the independent exhibitor will be able to hold 
his own, despite competition. And only a law such as Sena- 
tor Neely proposes can bring this condition about. 

One speaker said that he has heard of few failures during 
the depression. This might be true so far as he is concerned, 
but all he had to do would be to ask for the information 
from his producer-employers ; they have the records. 

So far as the sacredness of the right to sell, no one will 
contradict the speaker ; but the right to sell is sacred only 
when done free and untrammelled. It is not sacred when it 
js done under the big buyers' compulsion, as is usually the 
case now. That is at least what the U. S. Supreme Court 
said in the Dallas case. 

This speaker said also that the indej>endent exhibitors 
would have the trade practices conferences as a remedy 
rather than legislation. But trade practices conferences 
were held in the past. May this paper mention the con- 
ferences held under the auspices of the Government in 
1928? But what happened? Nothing! The producers forgot 
all their promises. 

And how about the 5-5-5 conferences? Was their fate 
any better? No! Even when the NRA Code was in the 
process of negotiations the producers tried to frame it so as 
to get all the benefit. From that time on, the exhibitors have 
been clamoring for trade reforms to no avail. 

Some of the statements are, of course, wiltl. That the 
business will, for example, go to pieces when the Neel) 
Bill is enacted into a law, is of such a nature. Didn't the> 
put up the same kind of wails when a demand was made on 
them to cleanse the screen? But when the Legion of 
Decency was formed and threatened t<> boycott the thea- 
tres, and they were actually forced to eliminate "tilth" from 
pictures, they earned greater profits than they had ever 
dreamed of earning. The same thing will happen if the 

{Continued en lost page) 



62 



HARRISON'S REPORTS 



April 22, 1939 



"Long Shot" with Gordon Jones, Marsha 
Hunt and Harry Davenport 

{Grand National, January 6 ; time, 68 min.) 

A modestly produced but fairly entertaining program 
melodrama, with a racetrack background. In spite of the 
fact that the story is pretty far-fetched, it manages to hold 
one's attention fairly well, because of one's interest in the 
leading characters. The stock shots of many races have 
been used intelligently, blending in with the story in a 
natural way. Although it is obvious that the hero's horse 
will win in the final race, one cannot help being somewhat 
excited when it does happen : — 

Harry Davenport, dejected when he loses his fortune 
and even his home after bad luck with his horses at the 
race track, is saddened even more when his niece (Marsha 
Hunt) announces her engagement to C. Henry Gordon, a 
wealthy racer. Davenport knows that she did not love 
Gordon and was sacrificing herself for his sake. He turns 
his last and favorite horse loose in the Arizona wilds, so 
that the Sheriff could not get it. Then, with the help of a 
lawyer friend, he leads every one to believe he had died. In 
his will he bequeaths the horse to Miss Hunt and to Gordon 
Jones, a young racer whom he trusted and liked, hoping 
that Miss Hunt would then break her engagement. Jones, 
not knowing anything about the will, buys the horse from 
a dealer, who had rounded it up with oilier horses. Miss 
Hunt recognizes the horse as soon as she sees it. but she 
does not say anything to Jones, for she wanted him to have 
complete ownership of it. Gordon, knowing about the will, 
leads J.nies to believe that Miss Hunt owned the horse and 
was playing Jones for a fool. Nevertheless Jones goes 
through with his plans to race it at Santa Anita. The horse 
wins. To everyone's joy, Davenport returns, explaining the 
reasons for his hoax. Miss Hunt, having found out how 
crooked Gordon was, is not conscience-stricken when she 
breaks her engagement to him in order to marry Jones, 
whom she loved. 

Harry Beresford and George Callaghan wrote the story, 
and Ewart Adamson, the screen play ; Charles Lamont 
directed it, and Franklyn Warner produced it. In the cast 
are George Meeker, George E. Stone, Dorothy Fay, Tom 
Kennedy, Frank Darien, and others. 

Suitability, Class A. 



"Zenobia" with Oliver Hardy, 
Harry Langdon, Billie Burke 
and Alice Brady 

(United Artists-Roach, April 21 ; time, 73 min.) 
That a producer of Mr. Hal Roach's experience should 
have produced a piece of junk such as this is indeed dis- 
couraging. Oliver Hardy, an excellent short-subject com- 
edian, is bad enough when he is put in a feature, hut when 
he is coupled with an elephant, that is unbearable. If Mr. 
Abram F. Myers (Allied Association) had this picture in 
W ashington to show it to the Subcommittee of the Senate 
Committee on Interstate Commerce, holding the hearings 
on the Neely Bill, he would have needed no other argu- 
ments to persuade its members to report the bill favorably. 
It is supposed to be a comedy, but I doubt whether any one 
else but Mr. Roach will find it such. 

"The time," says the press sheet, "is 1870 ; the place 
Carterville, Mississippi," and Oliver Hardy, a doctor, the 
hero. His daughter (Jean Parker) is loved by the young 
hero (James Ellison), but the young man's snobbish mother 
does not want to see him marry the daughter of a "common 
doctor," more so after he had cured an elephant, and the 
animal had become greatly attached to him and had been 
following him, bulk and all, like a pet dog. Some scheming 
is done by the young hero's mother, by which she persuades 
the owner of the elephant to sue the doctor for alienation of 
the affections of his elephant, resulting in a trial in which 
the doctor is acquitted after making an impassioned plea to 
the jury from outside the court room, where he had to be, 
because the elephant would not stay out of the court room 
as long as he was in it. His plea had another effect ; it 
effected a change of heart in the young hero's mother 
( Alice Brady). 

Walter de Leon and Arnold Belgard wrote the story, 
and Gordon Douglas directed it. In the cast are June Lang, 
Stepin Fetchit, Hattie McDaniels, Phillip Hurlic, The Hall 
Johnson Choir and others. 

Morally, there is nothing wrong with it — it may be put 
in the "A" class, but it is doubtful if it will amuse even 
children. 

Editor's Note: A similar picture was produced by 
MGM in 1926— "The Great Love." Marshall Neilan, I 
believe, produced it; and it "flopped" terribly. 



"You Can't Get Away with Murder" 
with Humphrey Bogart, Gale Page 
and Billy Halop 

(First National, May 20; time, 78 min.) 

This melodrama, which unfolds mostly in a prison, is 
good program entertainment, but strictly adult fare. It may 
prove too harrowing for general audiences, because of the 
torture a young boy goes through in fighting against the 
influence of a vicious gangster ; and the action is demoral- 
izing for children. As entertainment, its appeal should be 
directed mostly to men; women may find it too depressing, 
for not only does it stress the suffering of the young boy, 
but also brings in the suffering of his sister and of her 
fiance. It has moments of tense excitement, such as the 
situation towards the end, when a few prisoners try a 
prison break. One feels sympathy for the young boy, who 
meets with death in the end. The romance is pleasant : — 

Gale Page, who worked hard to support her young 
brother ( Billy Halop), is worried because of his friendship 
with a petty crook ( Humphrey Bogart). She is cheered by 
her fiance (Harvey Stephens), a private policeman, who 
tells her of his promotion to the position of manager of the 
Boston office, where they would move and take Halop with 
them. In the meantime, Halop joins Bogart in holding up a 
gas station. Later, Halop steals Stephens' gun, in order to 
take it with him on a job with Bogart, but Bogart takes the 
gun away from him. During the robbery, he kills a man 
and leaves Stephens' gun there. He then hides the loot in 
Stephens' room. Halop is both terrified and disgusted ; 
when he asks Bogart for Stephens' gun, he is shocked to 
hear what Bogart had done. Both Halop and Bogart are 
arrested for holding up the gasoline station, and are sent to 
Sing Sing. Stephens is arrested for the murder, tried, and 
given the death penalty. Bogart, by means of threats, pre- 
vents Halop from talking. Unable to stand the strain, Halop 
pleads with Bogart to do something. Bogart arranges to 
take him along on a prison break, his intention being to 
kill him once they would get over the wall. But things go 
wrong and the prison break is stopped. Bogart shoots 
Halop. Before he dies, Halop confesses, thereby winning 
Stephens' freedom. 

The plot was adapted from the play, "Chalked Out," by 
Warden Lewis E. Lawes and Jonathan Finn. Robert Buck- 
ner, Don Ryan, and Kenneth Garnet wrote the screen play ; 
Lewis Seiler directed it. and Sam Bischoff produced it. In 
the cast are John Litel. Henry Travers, Harold Huber, 
Joseph Sawyer, and others. 

Unsuitable for children and adolescents. Class B. 

"Dodge City" with Errol Flynn and 
Olivia deHavilland 

( Warner Bros., April 8 ; tinu:, 103 min.) 

A very good Western, photographed in technicolor. Pro- 
duced with lavishness, and acted with skill by a large and 
capable cast, it offers entertainment that should go over 
exceedingly well with the masses. The action, consisting 
of thrilling fights, plentiful shooting, and good horseback 
riding, is fast and exciting. In spite of the fact that the plot 
is not novel, it manages to be consistently entertaining, for 
the story offers good comedy situations, directs deep human 
appeal, and has a charming romance : — 

Erorl Flynn and his two pals (Alan Hale and Guinn 
Williams), having finished the work of rounding up cattle 
for railroad workers, plan to move on, looking for more 
excitement. Flynn incurs the enmity of Bruce Cabot, a vil- 
lainous Dodge City character, when he places information 
in the hands of federal authorities as to Cabot's theft of 
skins belonging to Indians. Some time later Flynn returns 
to Dodge City as the leader of a caravan of settlers. He is 
unhappy because of an incident that had caused the death of 
William Lundigan, one of the travelers. Lundigan's griev- 
ing sister (Olivia deHavilland), blaming Flynn for every- 
thing, refuses to talk to him. When Flynn arrives in Dodge 
City, he finds the place a hotbed of crime, for the town was 
run by Cabot and his henchmen. The decent folk, admiring 
Flynn's courage, beg him to become Sheriff ; he refuses at 
first, but later he changes his mind, and begins the work of 
cleaning things up. Miss deHavilland, who had changed 
her opinion about Flynn, becomes his staunch supporter. 
Law and order finally come to Dodge City, but not without 
plentiful bloodshed. Cabot and his men are killed in a 
battle with Flynn. Flynn is happy when Miss deHavilland, 
who had promised to marry him, consents to move further 
westward. 

Robert Buckner wrote the original screen play; Michael 
Curtiz directed it, and Robert Lord produced it. In the cast 
are Ann Sheridan, Frank McHugh, John Litel, Henry 
Travers, Victor Jory, and others. 

Suitability, Class A. 



April 22, 1939 



HARRISON'S REPORTS 



63 



"Dark Victory" with Bette Davis, George 
Brent and Geraldine Fitzgerald 

(First National, April 22; time, 105 min.) 
A powerful drama ; the acting is superb and the produc- 
tion values excellent. The story is, however, not cheerful ; 
as a matter of fact, it is somewhat depressing. Nevertheless, 
it is so gripping that it holds one tensely interested, even 
though one knows almost from the beginning that it will 
end with the death of the heroine. Several situations stir 
one's emotions so deeply, that one cannot hold back the 
tears. Two situations are outstanding : the one, where the 
heroine apologizes to the hero for having insulted him 
when she had learned that the brain operation he had per- 
formed on her was useless ; and the other, where the heroine 
and htr closest friend break down, realizing that the end 
was near : — 

Bette Davis, a wilful, extremely wealthy, society girl, 
who lived recklessly, suffers from dizziness and headaches. 
Her secretary and best friend (Geraldine Fitzgerald) 
pleads with her to see a doctor. Because of the insistence 
of Miss Fitzgerald and of the family doctor, she finally 
submits to an examination by George Brent, a famous sur- 
geon. Brent, realizing that she had a brain tumor, orders 
an immediate operation. At first, she refuses, but later 
submits. The operation is successful; but the tests later 
show that her's was a malignant case and that she would 
die within a year. Brent takes Miss Fitzgerald into his 
confidence, but enjoins her to keep the news from Miss 
Davis. In the meantime, Miss Davis and Brent fall madly 
in love with each other and decide to marry. While at his 
office she comes upon the file containing the medical record 
of her case and, being curious, starts to read it. She is 
shocked at the news, and at the same time enraged because 
she had not been told the truth. She insults Brent, breaks 
her engagement, and goes off on a wild orgy of drinking. 
This keeps up for a few weeks. Unable to bear the strain, 
she eventually breaks down and goes to Brent for solace. 
They marry, and move to Vermont, where Miss Davis 
could spend the rest of her days peacefully and happily. 
Miss Fitzgerald visits them; no one talks about the illness. 
On the day that Brent was called to New York, Miss Davis 
realizes that the end was near, for she was going blind. 
Without telling him anything, she insists that he go alone ; 
Miss Fitzgerald, knowing the truth, is unable to hide her 
grief. Miss Davis pleads with her to leave the house, so that 
she might die alone. She dies peacefully. Brent, Miss Fitz- 
gerald, and another good friend (Ronald Reagan) drink to 
her when a horse in which she had had great confidence 
wins an important race. 

The plot was adapted from the play by George Emerson 
Brewer, Jr., and Bertram Bloch ; Casey Robinson wrote 
the screen play, Edmund Goulding directed it, and David 
Lewis produced it. In the cast are Humphrey Bogart, 
Henry Travers, Cora Witherspoon, Dorothy Peterson, and 
others. 

Suitability, Class A. 



through the inspiration of an old musician-friend (Al 
Shean), composes the score for a new show. As soon as it 
is bought, he rushes to Miss MacDonald for a recon- 
ciliation ; but she turns him down. Morgan, who had bought 
the score, works upon Miss MacDonald's sympathies by 
stating that, unless she appeared in the show, he would not 
produce it. And so, in order to protect Ayres, she agrees to 
star in it. On the opening night, she and Ayres are recon- 
ciled, after Hunter had gracefully stepped aside. 

Lew Lipton, John T. Foote, and Hans Kraly wrote the 
story, and Charles Lederer, the screen play ; Robert Z. 
Leonard directed and produced it. In the cast are Wally 
Vernin, Rita Johnson, Virginia Grey, William Gargan, 
and others. 

Suitability, Class A. 

"Housemaster" with Otto Kruger 

(Associated British Pict.; time, 84 min.) 
This British-made comedy, which unfolds at a boys' 
school, is a mild sentimental entertainment, with little ap- 
peal for the average American picture-goer. Technically 
it has several faults : the sound and photography are quite 
poor in spots, and the editing is so choppy that the specta- 
tor is at times bewildered as to what is happening. High 
class audiences may find it to their liking, for it is different 
from American films as to background and story : — 

Otto Kruger, housemaster at an English boys' school, is 
annoyed at the severe methods employed by the new head- 
master (Kynaston Reeves) in disciplining the boys. To add 
to his troubles, he is compelled to take into his home three 
young girls, for he had promised their mother, before her 
death, that he would care for them when necessary. When 
to the other rules the headmaster adds a request that no 
pupil attend the town fair, the pupils of Kruger's house 
decide to rebel ; they go to the fair without permission. Thi • 
causes a scandal, for Reeves was inclined to believe that 
Kruger had egged on the boys to do so. Kruger, despite an 
excellent record of thirty years' standing, tenders his 
resignation, which Reeves accepts. On the day that Kruger 
had prepared to leave, he receives a visit from Cecil 
Parker, an old friend and a power in politics, who informs 
him that he had accomplished the difficult task of having 
Reeves transferred to another school, thus leaving the way 
clear for Kruger to become headmaster. Kruger is over- 
joyed. And his responsibility to the young girls is taken 
from his shoulders when their father remarries and re- 
quests the girls to live with him. 

The plot was adapted from the play by Ian Hay. Dudley 
Leslie wrote the screen play, and Herbert Brenon directed 
it. In the cast are Diana Churchill, Phillips Holmes, Joyce 
Barbour, Rene Ray, and others. 

Suitability, Class A. 



"Broadway Serenade" with Jeanette 
MacDonald and Lew Ayres 

(MGM, April 7; time, 112 min.) 
This musical comedy will probably go over with the 
masses because of the lavish production and of Miss Mac- 
Donald's popularity ; it is obvious that MGM spared no 
expense in making it the glittering spectacle that it is. But 
for all its lavishness, it is boresome, because of the triteness 
of the plot, which is developed according to formula. An- 
other thing against the picture is its length ; it should have 
been shortened by at least thirty minutes. The perform- 
ances are satisfactory ; Miss MacDonald sings and acts 
well, and she is given good support by a competent cast. 
Regardless of their efforts, however, the picture fails to 
make the impression that is expected of so expensive a pro- 
duction : — 

Miss MacDonald is offered by Frank Morgan a part in 
his new musical show. Morgan had made the offer at the 
suggestion of Ian Hunter, his wealthy backer, who had 
been attracted to Miss MacDonald. At first she refuses the 
offer, because it meant separation from her husband (Lew 
Ayres), a fine musician, with whom she had been appearing 
in public. But on Ayres' insistence, she takes the part, 
leaving for an out-of-town tour prior to the Broadway 
presentation. She is so good that, by the time the show 
reaches New York, she is made the star. But stardom does 
not bring her happiness; instead, malicious gossip, linking 
her name with that of Hunter's, is the cause for the breakup 
of her marriage. Ayres takes to drink. After two years, 
Miss MacDonald divorces him and plans to marry Hunter, 
who was deeply in love with her. In the meantime Ayres, 



"Women in the Wind" with Kay Francis 
and William Gargan 

(Wartier Bros., April IS ; time, 65 min.) 

Moderately entertaining program fare. The plot is ordi- 
nary ; as a matter of fact, the only attraction that the pic- 
ture offers is the flying ; its appeal will, therefore, be limited 
to those who enjoy aviation stories. There is some excite- 
ment in the closing scenes, when the heroine competes in a 
cross-country race. The romance is of the formula type : — 

Kay Francis decides to compete in an aviation race for 
women, for she needed the $15,000 prize money to cure her 
brother, an aviator, who had been paralyzed as a result of 
an accident. She becomes acquainted with William Gargan. 
famous round-the-world flyer, and induces him to allow 
her to fly his plane. Just when things seemed to be going 
smooth. Miss Francis is shocked to learn that Gargan had a 
wife ( Sheila Bromley) ; he had obtained a Mexican divorce 
but Miss Bromley, by claiming that the divorce was void, 
insisted that it would be she who would fly Gargan's plane. 
Gargan, unknown to Miss Francis, arranges for her to fly 
the plane of a young flyer, who had bettered his round-the- 
world record. Miss Bromley, hoping to win, enters with a 
mechanic into a scheme to tamper with Miss Francis' plane. 
This causes her trouble and, to add to her woes, she loses 
one of her landing wheels. When Miss Bromley sees this, 
she sacrifices her own chances of winning by warning Miss 
Francis of her danger. Miss Francis wins. She and Gargan 
are overjoyed when Miss Bromley shows them a telegram 
she had received informing her that Gargan's divorce was 
legal. 

The plot was adapted from a novel by Francis Walton : 
Lee Katz and Albert DeMond wrote the screen play ; John 
Farrow directed it, and Bryan Foy produced it. In the cast 
are Victor Jury, Maxie Rosenbloom, Kddie Foy, Jr., Eve 
Arden, and others. 

Suitability, Class A. 



64 



HARRISON'S REPORTS 



April 22, 1939 



Neely Bill should become a law; they will be compelled to 
install business methods in producing pictures, ceasing to 
remunerate incompetence and encouraging those who can 
make meritorious pictures. 

One of the arguments that have been made before the 
committee by these witnesses is the tact that the Bill does 
not make the showing of immoral lilms impossible. The 
showing of several such pictures, not contracted for in 
blocks, was put forward as a substantiation. 1 doubt w hether 
any Allied leaders have said that it would; but they have 
said that it w ill make the exhibitor responsible to the people 
of his community for the type of pictures he would show. 
It he would, lor example, choose to show the crime pictures 
produced now-a-days, which have in some instances been 
almost half of the total output of some companies — if he 
should continue doing so and should receive no protests 
from the people of his community, he could not be blamed, 
for the lack of protests would indicate that they like this 
type of pictures, or they tolerate them ; but if he should 
receive strong protests, he would, regardless of how much 
■money be might make in showing such pictures, be com- 
pelled to cease booking them. If he should not, his invest- 
ment might be put in jeopardy. And no exhibitor likes to 
■lose the good will of the people of his community. Without 
a law such as Senator Neely seeks to have enacted, he is 
helpless. 

One of the speakers made statements that should prove 
heroful to the proponents of the Bill; he said that the Bill 
will not make it possible for an exhibitor to cancel an un- 
desirable picture, by virtue of the fact that he would have 
a contract for it. If the exhibitor will be unable to cancel 
a picture under the anti-block-booking law because of the 
contract, he certainly has less right to do so now and as 
lon,<; as the present system should prevail. The good ol the 
business then demands that, if the right to cancel a picture 
after a contract is made is to be denied to the exhibitor 
under any system, it is better that such a denial be made 
under the Neely Bill, for in such circumstances he and he 
alone will be responsible to the people of his community for 
knowingly entering into a contract for a picture tiiat would, 
to his knowledge, displease the people of his community. 

Another of this speaker's statement was to the effect that 
the responsihlity for the maintaining of moral standards is 
taken away from the producer, "to whom it really belongs," 
and placed upon the exhibitor. Such a statement is. of 
course, wilder than any of the others. Since when have the 
Hollywood producers thought more of the moral standards 
of pictures than of their pocketbooks ? There have been 
individual exceptions, of course, but the query applies to 
the great majority. The Hollywood producers have thought 
of moral standards only from the time the churches threat- 
ened boycott of the picture theatres. 

Some of the questions that the independent exhibitor must 
bear in mind in the matter of the code of trade reforms, the 
final draft of which has already been submitted to the ex- 
hibitors, are these: (1) Can he live under a system that 
makes it possible for the wholesalers to be in competition 
with their customers? (2) Can he conduct his theatre more 
profitably when he has to buy every picture a distributor 
makes in order that he may obtain the ones he really w ants ? 

If lie should satisfy himself that he can, the next question 
that he has to answer is this : Will the producers retain 
these reforms even if a more stand-patter administration 
were to replace the present administration in Washington? 

If your answers should all be in the negative, then com- 
municate with your Senator, urging him to give the Neely 
Bill his whole-hearted support. 



BOX-OFFICE PERFORMANCES OF 
1938-39 SEASON'S PICTURES — No. 3 
RKO 
1937 38 

•'Fisherman's Wharf," with iiooby Breen, Leo Carrillo. 
and Henrj Armetta; produced by Sol Lesser and directed 
by Bernard Vbrhaus, from a screen play by Bernard Schu- 
bert, Ian Hunter, and Herbert C. Lewis: Good-Poor. 

Forty-six pictures have been released. Grouping the pic- 
tures, of the different ratings from the beginning of the 
season, we get the following results : 

Excellent-Good, 2; Very Good-Good. 2; Good-Fair, 9; 
Good- Poor, 8; Fair, 8; Fair-Poor, 15 ; Poor, 2. 

Forty-six pictures were released in the 1936-37 season. 
They were rated as follows : 

Excellent-Fair. 1 ; Very Good-Good, 2; Good, 4; Good- 
Fair, 11; Fair, 12; Fair-Poor, 12; Poor, 4. 



1938-39 

"The Law West of Tombstone," with Harry Carey and 
Tim Holt; produced by Cliff Reid and directed by Glenn 
Tryon, from a screen play by John Twist and Clarence W. 
Young : Good-Poor. 

"Peck's Bad Boy with the Circus," with Tommy Kelly, 
Ann Gillis, and Edgar Kennedy ; produced by Sol Lesser 
and directed by Edward F. Cline, from a screen play by 
Al Martin, David Bochm, and Robert Neville: Fair-Poor. 

"Next Time 1 Marry," with Lucille Bail and James 
Ellison; produced by Llitf Reid and directed by Garson 
Kanin, from a screen play by Dudley Nichols and John 
Tw ist : Good- Poor. 

"Pacific Liner," with Victor McLaglen, Chester Morris, 
and Wendy Panic: produced by Robert Sisk and di- 
rected by Lew Landers, from a screen play by John Tv. ist : 
Fair. 

"Great Man Votes." with John Barrymore, Virginia 
Weidler, and Peter Holden ; produced by Cliff Reid and 
directed by Garson Kanin, from a screen play by John 
Twist : Good-Fair. 

"Arizona Legion," with George O'Brien and Laraine 
Johnson; produced by Bert Gilroy and directed by David 
Howard, from a screen play by Oliver Drake: Good-Fair. 

"Boy Slaves," with Anne Shirley, Alan Baxter, Roger 
Daniel, and James MeLallion ; produced and directed by 
I'. J. Wolfson, from a screen play by Albert Bein and Ben 
Orkow : Fair-Poor. 

"Gunga Din," with Douglas Fairbanks, Jr., Cary Grant, 
Victor McLaglen, and Joan Fontaine; produced and di- 
rected by George Stevens, from a screen play by Joel Sayre 
and Fred Ouil : Excellent. 

"Beauty For the Asking," with Lucille Ball, Patrick 
Knowlcs, and Frieda Inescort ; produced by B. P. Fineman 
and directed by Glenn Tryon, from a screen play by Doris 
Anderson and Paul Jarrico: Good-Poor. 

Eighteen pictures have been released. Grouping the pic- 
tures of the different ratings from the beginning of the 
season, we get the following results : 

Excellent, 1 ; Good-Fair, 7 ; Good-Poor, 3 ; Fair, 3 ; Fair- 
Poor, 4. 

The lirst eighteen pictures in the 1937-38 season were 
rated as follows : 

Excellent-Good, 1 ; Good-Fair, 4; Fair, 5; Fair-Poor, 6; 
Poor, 2. 

United Artists 

"Cowboy and the Lady," with Gary Cooper and Merle 
Oberon ; produced by Samuel Goldwyn and directed by 
H. C. Potter, from a screen play by S. N. Behrman and 
Sonya Levien : Excellent-Good. 

"Trade W inds," with Fredric March. Joan Bennett, and 
Ralph Bellamy; produced by Walter Wanger and directed 
by Tay Garnett, from a screen play by Dorothy Parker, 
Alan Campbell, and Frank R. Adams: Good. 

"Duke of West Point," with Louis Hayward, Richard 
Carlson, Tom Brown, and Joan Fontaine; produced by 
Edward Small and directed by Alfred E. Green, from a 
screen play by George Bruce : Good. 

"Topper Takes A Trip," with Constance Bennett and 
Roland Young; produced by Milton H. Bren and directed 
by Norman Z. McLeod, from a screen play by Eddie 
Mora;). Jack Jevne, and Corey Ford: Good. 

"Made For Each Other," with Carole Lombard and 
James Stewart ; produced by David O. Selznick and di- 
rected by John Cromwell, from a screen play by Jo Swerl- 
ing : Very Good. 

"King of the Turf," with Adolphe Menjou and Roger 
Daniel ; produced by Echvard Small and directed by Alfred 
E. Green, from a screen play by George Bruce : Good. 

"Stagecoach." with Claire Trevor, John Wayne, and 
Thomas Mitchell ; produced by Walter Wanger and di- 
rected by John Ford, from a screen play by Dudley Nichols : 
Very Good-Good. 

Eleven pictures have been released. Grouping the pictures 
of the different ratings from the beginning of the season, we 
get the following results : 

Excellent-Good, 1 ; Very Good, 1 ; Very Good-Good, 2 ; 
Very Good-Fair, 1 ; Good, 4 ; Good-Fair, 2. 

The first eleven pictures in the 1937-38 season were rated 
as follows : 

Excellent-Very Good, 3; Excellent-Good, 1; Good, 2; 
Good- Poor, 1 ; Fair, 2; Fair-Poor, 1 ; Poor, 1. 



Entered as second-class matter January 4, 1921, at the post office at New York, New York, under the act of March 3, 187S. 

Harrison's Reports 

Yearly Subscription Rates : 1270 SIXTH AVENUE Published Weekly by 

United States $15.00 P,ww« 1 CI 9 Harrison's Reports, Inc., 

U. S. Insular Possessions. 16.50 KOOm lOU Publisher 

panada 16.50 NeVT York, N. Y. P. S. HARRISON, Editor 

Mexico, Cuba, Spain 16.50 . „ . . ' „ * „ , 

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35c a Copy Its EditoriaI Policy: No Problem Too Big for Its Editorial Circle 7-4622 

Columns, if It is to Benefit the Exhibitor. 

A REVIEWING SERVICE FREE FROM THE INFLUENCE OF FILM ADVERTISING 

Vol. XXI SATURDAY, APRIL 29, 1939 No. 17 

UNITED ARTISTS POINTS THE WAY! 

In the issues of January 16, 1937, and of May 21, 1938, 1938, you would have the right to play only those pictures 

I informed you that, if you wanted to huy from United released generally during the period of thirteen and a half 

Artists pictures produced only by Mr. David Selznick, you months ending September 15, 1939. 

could do so. In other words, you were not under any obliga- The United Artists contract for the 1939-40 season will 

tion to buy pictures made by any other producer releasing be valid for twenty months from the day it is signed. In 

his pictures through United Artists. My authority for such other words, if you should sign a United Artists 1939-40 

a statement was, as I informed you in the May 21, 1938 season's contract on, for example, August 1, 1939, United 

issue, Mr. David Selznick himself. Artists will be under an obligation to deliver to you all the 

I am now in a position to give you some more important pictures released within twenty months ; tliat is, up to 

information regarding the policy of United Artists for the April 1, 1941. This indicates that United Artists and the 

1939-40 season : producers releasing pictures through it are willing to assure 

( 1 ) Heretofore, contracts of this company contained a you that no producer releasing his pictures through that 
provision making it obligatory on the part of an exhibitor company will ever hold a picture back, just because it 
to play the entire program of United Artists pictures con- turned out to be good, so as to sell it to you the following 
traded for in the order of their release. In other words, if season for more money. 

a Selznick, or a Wanger, or a Small, production, or the Since these selling-practice reforms of United Artists 

picture of any other producer, was available for your use. are, not the result of protracted conferences with exhibitor 

tiie exchange would not deliver it in case you had failed to representatives, but voluntary, it is manifest that those who 

"lift" a picture of another producer with an earlier release make its pictures are in effect telling the exhihitors of the 

date. In the 1939-40 season, it will no longer be so : you United States, and of the world, for that matter, this : 

will be able to play the picture of one producer even though "Gentlemen : We have confidence in the pictures we are 

it should be released later than the pictures of some other going to produce. You may buy one, or you may buy all — 

producers, which you had not yet played. just as you wish. We leave that matter to you, because we 

For instance, if you should buy the entire United Artists know that our pictures will be so good and the prices will 

program, and if a Wanger picture should be released on be so fair that you will want to buy them all." 

October 1, and a Small picture on October 15, and a Selz- What makes this step significant is the fact that this 

nick picture on November 1, you would have the right to company owns no theatres. Consequently, it cannot depend 

play the Selznick picture before you had played the other on such a medium to help it recoup the production cost, 

two. That cost, as well as any profit, must come solely from the 

As for a group or series of pictures made by the same sale of the pictures to exhibitors, 

producer, you would have to play them in the order of Since receiving this startling information, I have pon- 

their release, but, as I have been informed reliably, in case dered the following question : If United Artists, with no 

of an emergency, you might get permission from the pro- theatres to use as a powerful leverage, can institute a policy 

ducer to play out of their regular order even those pictures. of selling its pictures on merit, why cannot the other 

In other words, if you should find it necessary to play a producer-distributors? 

later-release Selznick picture before you bad played a It isn't altogether the desire of the other big producers 

prior-release Selznick, you will, no doubt, be able to get to maintain the monopoly they are now enjoying, for with 

permission from the Selznick representatives to do so, pro- the principle of selling pictures on merit, there will be a 

vided you can show that there is a real necessity for it. The greater profit not only for the exhibitor but also for the 

same holds true with respect to the pictures of any other producers themselves, for once the exhibitor is able to 

producer releasing through United Artists. choose from the different producers only the pictures that 

(2) Heretofore, United Artists considered a breach of will bring him a profit, he will naturally be willing to pay 
one contract by the exhibitor as a breach of all contracts more for them. And no producer-distributor will be the 
by him. Clause 15th of the contract gave the distributor loser in any respect, for the play-dates are the same, no 
the right to attach to a shipment a C.O.D. of all monies matter whether the pictures are sold under the system 
owed by the exhibitor. During the 1939-40 season, a breach United Artists has established or under the present system, 
of one producer's contract will not be considered a breach I have been told that, what holds the producers back is 
of the contracts of the other producers. In other words, if lack of capital. Under the prevailing system they can 
a shipment of a Selznick. or a Wanger, or a Korda, picture "hock" the contracts with the banks and raise money with 
were to be made to you. the distributor could not attach to which to produce the pictures. Without such a privilege they 
the C.O.D. any monies that might be claimed to be due think that they are lost. 

from you, as a result of a controversy, to any other pro- But it is hardly so : Metro-Goldwyn- Mayer, for example, 

ducer releasing through United Artists. lias a cash reserve that could enable it to produce its entire 

(3) You will be able to buy only one picture, if you season's output without having to borrow a penny. Would 
should so desire, without having to buy any other. This will Twentieth Century-Fox have any trouble in raising the 
hold true even with pictures of the same producer. money that it would need? Some of the other big companies, 

(4) As you all know, most exhibition contracts arc too, could get by. That leaves the smaller companies, 
signed during the months of June, July and August, and But even these companies could get along, for they would 
cover pictures released generally during the period starting not be compelled to produce their entire season's output 
in August of that year and ending in September of the before starting to sell ; they could produce one-half do/en 
following year. As a matter of fact, the United Artists con- at a time, and they would have no trouble selling them as 
tract for the 1938-39 season provides that it covers pictures ,ast as thfty make them. 

released generally up to September 15, 1939. If you had But to establish the system that United Artists has estab- 

signed a United Artists contract on, let us say, August 1, Hshed requires confidence in the ability of a picture com 

(Contimttd on lest page) 



66 



HARRISON'S REPORTS 



April 29, 1939 



"Man of Conquest" with Richard Dix, 
Edward Ellis, Joan Fontaine 
and Gail Patrick 

(Republic, May 15; time, 98 min.) 

With "Alan of Conquest" Republic makes an auspicious 
entry in the field of historical dramas. Produced with care, 
and directed and acted with great skill, it offers entertain- 
ment that can be compared favorably with that of any 
major-company output. It is interesting from the very be- 
ginning, for it deals with the development of the personal 
life of Sam Houston; but it becomes very exciting in the 
second half. Particularly effective are the battle scenes in 
which Houston leads his men to charge against the Mexi- 
cans, inspiring them on to bravery by crying "Remember 
the Alamo !", for it was there that the Mexicans under 
Santa Ana had slaughtered innocent men, women, and 
children. The story revolves around historical events in 
American history that should interest all types of audiences. 

Sam Houston (Richard Dix), who had been living with 
the Cherokee Indians for a year, arrives home in time to 
hear that the British had burned Washington, and that An- 
drew Jackson (Edward Ellis), was calling for volunteers. 
Houston's bravery on the battlefield comes to Jackson's 
attention, and they become good friends. Jackson, as Pres- 
ident of the United States, campaigns for Houston's reelec- 
tion as Governor of Tennessee. Houston marries Eliza Al- 
len (Joan Fontaine), a delicate girl who had been reared in 
an atmosphere of refinement. After the marriage, he takes 
her with him on his campaign tour to rough settlements. 
Horrified at the vulgarity of Houston and his friends, Kliza 
leaves him ; she later obtains a divorce. Houston gives up 
everything to become a member of the Cherokee tribe. En- 
raged at the way the Indians were being tricked out of their 
land, Houston goes to Washington to sec Jackson. Jackson 
offers to help the Indians it Houston would leave them and 
give his talents to the government ; he accepts Houston 
meets and falls in love with Margaret Lee (Gail Patrick) ; 
but he refused to commit himself because he felt he had im- 
portant work to do — to free Texas from incompetent Mexi- 
can rule. Austin ( Ralph Morgan), the Texas leader, at first 
led by Santa Ana (C. Henry Gordon), makes Austin real- 
ize that Houston was right. After fierce fighting, the Mexi- 
cans are routed, and Texas is declared a free republic. 
Houston marries Margaret. Eventually he brings Texas 
into the union ; Jackson, on his deathbed, is overjoyed at the 
news. 

Harold Shumate and Wells Root wrote the story, and 
Wells Root, E. E. Paramore, Jr. and Jan Fortune, the 
screen play; George Nicholls, Jr. directed it, and Sol C. 
Siegel produced it. In the cast are Victor Jory, Robert 
Barrat, George Hayes, Robert Armstrong and Janet 
Beecher. Suitability, Class A. 



"Sorority House" with Anne Shirley 
and James Ellison 

(RKO, May 12; time, 64 min.) 
A delightful picture. Although the background is a col- 
lege, the story does not include jazzing, drinking and love- 
affair escapades ; it deals with a straight love affair, in 
which a college boy is in true love with a college girl, 
eventually resulting in marriage. This affair is interwoven 
with the hopes and the aspirations of first-year college 
girls to join a sorority. Miss Shirley certainly is develop- 
ing, not only into a fine, but also a charming, actress. In 
the scenes where she, having felt remorse because she had 
not invited her lowly father into the sorority house where 
a reception for the parents of students was held, rushes to 
him, and falling on his neck she cries, begging his forgive- 
ness, the spectators will be unable to suppress their emo- 
tions ; they will feel that Anne just did what a real girl 
should have done, and forgive her for her thoughtlessness. 
Barbara Read wins one's sympathy by her fortitude when 
she finds herself uninvited to a sorority. Adele Pearce, too, 
does good work as the student who should "die" if she 
should not be invited; the breaking of her heart does, in- 
deed, arouse the spectator's commiseration. J. M. Kerrigan 
is natural as the father of Anne Shirley, and wins one's 
sympathy. 

The picture, although of program grade, is "class" ; no 
exhibitor should be ashamed to exploit it intensively so as 
to draw patrons into his theatre, for the photography and 
the settings are a treat to the eye. 

The picture has been founded on the story "Chi House," 
by Mary Coyle Chase. Dalton Trumbo wrote the screen 
play, John Farrow directed it, and Robert F. Sisk produced 
it, under the general supervision of Lee Marcus. 

Goorl on any day of the week, for anybody ; but young 
folk should enjoy it particularly well. Suitability, Class A. 



"For Love or Money" with June Lang, 
Robert Kent, Ed Brophy and 
Etienne Girardot 

(Universal, April 28; time, 66J4 viin.) 
Pretty good. Although the story is fantastic, it has at 
least been produced as a "class" picture. Because of the 
good direction and acting, one's interest is held to the end. 
The surprise feature is the revelation that Etienne Girardot, 
who had been calling himself Julius Caesar, is not an in- 
sane person, but really a multi-millionaire. There are some 
thrills, caused by the fact that the hero's life is endan- 
gered. And the love affair is fairly charming: — 

Robert Kent, an impoverished young man, who had for- 
merly been wealthy, and Ed Brophy, his bodyguard, worked 
for Richard Lane, a gambler. Lane had been placing horse- 
race bets over the telephone with a Mr. Poindexter ( Etii line 
Girardot), who always won. The last bet being for $50,000, 
Lane, on Kent's advice, "hedges" ; he places an equal 
amount with Addison Richards, another gambler. When 
the race is over, Lane sends Kent to collect the money from 
Richards. Richards gives it to him but instructs two gun- 
men to hold him up as he was leaving the building. Kent, 
sensing the trick, hands the money to Brophy, who runs 
into an office where advertising by mail was done for a face 
powder. He asks for an envelope to mail the money to 
Lane but, through a mix-up, he mails the wrong envelope. 
When 1-ane receives an envelope containing face powder 
instead of the money, he gives Kent 24 hours to produce the 
money, Kent locates the girl (June Lang) who had re- 
ceived the money, but finds that she had spent most of it. 
In desiieration, Kent invites Miss Lang, Brophy, and two 
of Lane's men who had been trailing him, to a fashionable 
restaurant for a last supper ; by being unable to pay, he 
hoped to be arrested. But Lane is there to pay the bill. 
Kent is taken tor a ride. When Miss Lang discovers that 
"Julius Caesar," who had been betting with them in the 
restaurant on silly notions, was Girardot ( Poindexter), the 
millionaire, she rushes with him to rescue Kent by having 
Girardot pay Lane the $50,000 he owed Kent as a result 
of a silly wager. After Kent's release, Girardot takes back 
his check from I^ane to even up the $50,000 Lane owed him 
on the last horse race. Miss Lang and Kent, who by this 
time had fallen in love with each other, decide to marry. 

Julian Blaustein, Daniel Taradash and Bernard Feins 
wrote the story, and Charles Grayson and Arthur Herman, 
the screen play ; Al Rogell directed it. In the cast are Ed- 
ward Gargan, Horace MacMahon, Cora Witherspoon, and 
others. 

Because of the gangster twist, suitability. Class B. 



"The Kid From Texas" with Dennis O'Keefe 
and Florence Rice 

(MGM, April 28; time, 70 min.) 
Fair program entertainment, with pretty good produc- 
tion values. It combines comedy with romance, and, for 
excitement, offers a few polo matches that are worked 
into the plot in a logical manner. At the beginning, the 
hero is a somewhat annoying character, for he is given to 
bragging and silliness ; but as the story develops he becomes 
more likeable, finally winning the spectator's sympathy. 
The romance is routine, culminating in marriage after 
many misunderstandings : — 

Dennis O'Keefe, a cowboy, longs to play polo. When his 
favorite horse is sold, he follows the buyer (Anthony 
Allan) to Long Island, inducing him to engage him as an 
assistant. O'Keefe falls in love with Allan's sister (Flor- 
ence Rice), but she considers him a nuisance. When he is 
finally given his chance to play polo with Allan's team, 
he messes things up, making a fool of himself. He decides 
to leave, to join a rodeo in which his ranch friends were 
appearing. By introducing polo as the feature attraction, he 
puts the rodeo on a paying basis, much to the relief of the 
owner (Virginia Dale), who falls in love with him. A 
match is arranged between O'Keefe's and Allan's teams, 
with O'Keefe's team coming out victorious. But he is down- 
cast, for he had promised Miss Dale that, if he won the 
game, he would marry her. Miss Rice, realizing that she 
loved O'Keefe, is unhappy when she hears of his mar- 
riage plans. But Miss Dale, a good sport, releases O'Keefe, 
who is joyfully united with Miss Rice. 

Milton Merlin and Byron Morgan wrote the story, and 
Florence Ryerson, Edgar Allan Woolf and Albert Mann- 
heimer, the screen play; S. Sylvan Simon directed it, and 
Edgar Selwyn produced it. In the cast are Jessie Ralph, 
Buddy Ebsen, Robert W'ilcox, Jack Carson, and others. 

Suitability, Class A. 



April 29, 1939 



HARRISON'S REPORTS 



67 



"The Hardys Ride High" with Mickey 
Rooney and Lewis Stone 

(MGM, May 5; time, 80 mini) 
A very good addition to the "Hardy Family" series. It 
should go over very well, for it has plentiful comedy, and 
human appeal. The production is a little more lavish than 
usual, since the family is taken out of their customary sur- 
roundings and placed in a luxurious city home. Most of the 
laughter is provoked by Mickey Rooney's actions; particu- 
larly comical are his attempts to act like a man of the 
world once he gets to the city. One is held in suspense, not 
knowing until the end whether the family would inherit a 
$2,000,000 fortune or not :— 

When Stone learns that he had fallen heir to a $2,000,000 
estate, provided he could prove his right to it, he is naturally 
overjoyed. He and his family leave for the city to meet the 
lawver. The lawyer insists that they live in the luxurious 
home that would eventually be theirs. John King, the 
adopted son of the man who had died, is disappointed that 
he had not inherited the fortune ; but he pretends to be com- 
pletely satisfied. His purpose was to try to find a loophole 
by which he could get the estate away from them. Mickey, 
feeling that he was now a millionaire playboy, is happy 
when King suggests taking him to a nightclub where he 
could meet chorus girls. King's chorus-girl friend (Vir- 
ginia Grey) plays up to Mickey, inviting him to her apart- 
ment. He goes there, but becomes so frightened, that he 
runs away. Stone and his family go back home in order to 
go through their old papers so as to establish their right 
to the money ; but the only evidence Stone could find 
showed that his grandfather was not really born into the 
wealthy family but had been adopted into it ; therefore, he 
could not claim the estate. Although he could still obtain 
the estate by burning the evidence, no one in the family 
wants the money that way. And so they give up their 
dreams, and settle down to their old way of living. 

Agnes C. Johnston, Kay Van Riper and William Lud- 
wig wrote the screen play, and George B. Seitz directed it. 
In the cast are Fay Holden, Cecilia Parker, Ann Ruther- 
ford, Sara Haden, Minor Watson, and others. 

Suitability, Class A. 

"East Side of Heaven" with Bing Crosby, 
Joan Blondell and Mischa Auer 

(Universal , April 7; time, 86 win.) 
A delightful comedy, with human appeal. The plot is 
simple, but consistently amusing, because of good gags and 
comical dialogue. As an added attraction, for women in 
particular, there is "Sandy," the infant member of the cast, 
whose charm will bring forth "ohs" and "ahs" from de- 
lighted audiences. Crosby plays the part of the nonchalant 
jack-of-all-trades with ease, since it fits his talents to per- 
fection. He sings a few good numbers, which, instead of 
interrupting the action, blend in well with the story. Mischa 
Auer is as comical as ever, provoking hearty laughter with 
each appearance. And Joan Blondell teams up well romanti- 
cally with Crosby : — 

Crosby, who worked for a telegraph company, singing 
greetings over the telephone, loses his job when, upon 
singing a birthday message personally to C. Aubrey Smith, 
a well-known millionaire, he ends up by berating him for 
not treating decently his daughter-in-law (Irene Hervey). 
Miss Hervcy's husband ( Robert Kent) had left her in order 
to lead a carefree life, drinking most of the time; and 
Aubrey wanted her to leave his home, but without her 
baby. Being out of a job, Crosby is again compelled to 
postpone his marriage to Miss Blondell, telephone operator 
at a hotel. He next obtains a i>osition with a taxicab com- 
pany as a singer to amuse customers while driving them 
around. One night, Miss Hervey leaves her baby in Crosby's 
cab, with a note pleading with him to care for the baby 
until she could find her husband. Auer. Crosby's room- 
mate, is horrified, for he had read that the police believed 
the baby had been kidnapped. Miss Blondell helps them 
care for the baby. In the meantime, Jerry Cowan, a radio 
commentator, accidentally finds out about the baby and 
steals him from Crosby's room, his intention being to 
obtain all the credit for himself for having found the baby. 
But Crosby, with the help of Auer and Miss Blondell, out- 
wits Cowan and gets the baby back. He presents him to his 
parents, who had returned just as Crosby was going to 
turn the baby over to Smith. Smith, who was happy that 
the baby was safe, sponsors a radio program, with Crosby 
as singer. 

David Butler and Herbert Polesie wrote the story, and 
William Conselnian, the screen play; David Butler di- 
rected it. and Herbert Polesie produced it. In the cast are 
Rose Balyda. Helen Warner, Matty Malneck and orchestra, 
and others. Suitability, Class A. 



"Back Door to Heaven" with Wallace Ford, 
Stuart Erwin, Aiine McMahon and 
Patricia Ellis 

(Paramount, April 21 ; time, 85 mm.) 
A strong but sombre, distasteful, and considerably de- 
moralizing crook melodrama. And the story does not con- 
vey any message. The chief character cannot be called a 
hero, for he starts his crime career from his early youth. 
All through the picture, he follows a career of crime, and 
he is sentenced either to jail or to the penitentiary. What is 
more distasteful than anything else is the fact that the 
author glorifies this criminal in the end, for he shows him 
as having been convicted of murder in the first degree for 
a crime that was committed, not by himself, but by his two 
pals ; he was caught on the scene of the crime because he 
had gone there to stop them from committing it. In other 
words, the picture is a glorification of a criminal. 

The most gripping part is in the end, where the criminal, 
having broken jail after he was sentenced to death, steals a 
car and drives at break-neck speed to the schoolhouse of his 
home town, where his class was holding a reunion, with the 
school teacher, now gray, present. The class had been 
called together by one of the ex-pupils, now a banker, to 
get some cheap publicity. After bidding his former school- 
mates good-bye, the criminal departs with the intention of 
going back to jail, but he is shot and ( supposedly ) killed 
just as he comes out of the school house by prison guards, 
who had been pursuing him. 

John Bright and Robert Pasker wrote the screen play, 
from an original story by William K. Howard, who also 
directed and produced it. 
Suitability, Class B. 

"The Family Next Door" with Hugh 
Herbert, Joy Hodges and Eddie Quillan 

(Universal, Mar. 31 ; time, 60 mm. ) 
A mildly amusing family comedy, suitable mostly for 
neighborhood theatres. A few situations provoke laughter, 
but for the most part the comedy is forced, becoming tire- 
some at times. With the exception of the youngest child 
(Juanita Quigley), the members of the family are none 
too appealing. But this is not the fault of the actors, since 
the performances are adequate enough; it is just that (hey 
are placed in silly situations : — 

Ruth Donnelly, married to Hugh Herbert, a plumber, is 
constantly nagging him about his inability to provide a 
more luxurious home for his four children (Joy Hodges. 
Eddie Quillan, Bennie Bartlett, and Juanita Quigley). She 
is concerned mostly about Miss Hodges, fearing that she 
would not be able to win a husband for herself. When 
Quillan suggests that his mother turn over to him her life 
savings of $5,000, she is at first reluctant, but later suc- 
cumbs. From the way Quillan described the real estate 
proposition he had in mind, Miss Donnelly felt certain that 
they would make a great deal of money. Not until after 
he purchases the property does he find out that he could 
not build on it since the land was all quicksand. Every one 
in the family is despondent. But their sorrow is changed to 
joy when a young scientist (James Bush) finds that the 
sand on the property would be valuable for glass-making. 
Not only are their financial difficulties settled, but Miss 
Hodges finds a suitor in the person of the scientist. 

Mortimer Oft'ner wrote the original screen play; Joseph 
Santley directed it, and Max Golden produced it. In the 
cast are Thomas Beck, Cecil Cunningham, Frances Robin- 
son, and others. 

Suitability, Class A. 



"The Return of the Cisco Kid" with Warner 
Baxter, Robert Barrat, and Lynn Bari 

(20//( Century-Fox, April 28; time. 71 mm.) 

Those who follow western melodramas should enjoy this 
one, because the action is fast and the chief character per- 
forms heroics. The only bad feature about it is the fact 
that the hero is a bandit, and is shown holding up a stage- 
coach. It is toward the end where he is. in a way, regener- 
ated, for he becomes the means by which the heroine and 
her grandfather receive back property that had been stolen 
from them by the villain. But in order to do that, he had to 
do more holding ti|> — -he holds up the villain's bank and 
steals $100,000, which he pays to the villain tor the deed 
to the property. Such doings are not very edifying to child- 
drcn. who are the most faithful followers of westerns. 

The plot has been taken from a story by (). Henry; it 
was put into screen-play form by Milton Sperling. Herbert 
Leeds directed it, and Kenneth Macgowan produced it. In 
the cast are, Cesar Romero. Henry Hull. C Henry Gordon, 
and Kane Richmond. Suitability, Class B. 



6S 



HARRISON'S REPORTS 



April 29, 1939 



pany to deliver the quality pictures it asserts in the begin- 
ning of each season that it is going to deliver. And it seems 
as if, with the exception of United Artists, no other com- 
pany has such confidence. 

It is the duty of every exhibitor to give United Artists 
his support. If the United Artists system should prove a 
'•howling" success, there is no question that the others will 
adopt it without much coaxing. 

BOX-OFFICE PERFORMANCES OF 
1938-39 SEASON'S PICTURES— No. 4 
Twentieth Century-Fox 

"Submarine Patrol," with Richard Greene, Preston 
Foster, and Nancy Kelly ; produced by Gene Markey and 
directed by John Ford, from a screen play by Kian James, 
Darrell Ware, and Jack Yellen: Good-Fair. 

"Road Demon," with Henry Armetta and Henry Arthur ; 
produced by Jerry Hoffman and directed by Otto Brower, 
from a screen play by Robert Ellis and Helen Logan : Fair- 
Poor. 

"Up the River," with Preston Foster, Arthur Treacher, 
Phvllis P»rooks, and Tony Martin; produced by Sol M. 
Wurtzel and directed by Alfred Werker, from a screen 
play by Lou Brcslow and John Patrick: Good-Poor. 

"Down on the Farm," with Jed Prouty, Spring Byington 
and Louise Fazenda : produced by John Stone and directed 
by Malcolm St. Claire, from a screen play by Robert Ellis 
and Helen Logan : Good- Poor. 

"Thanks for Everything," with Jack Haley, Adolphe 
Menjou, Jack Oakie and Arleen Whelan; produced by 
Harry Joe Brown and directed by William A. Seiter, from 
a screen play by Curtis Kenyon and Art Arthur : Good- 
Fair. 

"Kentucky," with Loretta Young, Richard Greene, and 
Walter Brennan ; produced by Gene Markey and directed 
by David Butler, from a screen play by John T. Foote and 
Lamar Trotti : Excellent-Good. 

"While New York Sleeps," with Michael Whalen and 
Jean Rogers ; produced by Sol M. Wurtzel and directed by 
FI. Bruce Humberstone, from a screen play by Frances 
Hyland and Albert Ray : Good-Poor. 

"Charlie Chan in Honolulu," with Sidney Toler, Phyllis 
Brooks, and John King ; produced by John Stone and di- 
rected by H. Bruce Humberstone, from a screen play by 
Charles Belden : Good-Poor. 

"Mr. Moto's Last Warning," with Peter Lorre, Ricardo 
Cortez, and Virginia Field; produced by Sol M. Wurtzel 
and directed by Norman Foster, from a screen play by 
Philip MacDonald and Norman Foster : Good-Poor. 

"Smiling Along," with Gracie Fields and Roger Livesey ; 
produced by Robert T. Kane and directed by Monty Banks, 
from a screen play by William Conselman : Fair-Poor. 

"Jesse James," with Tyrone Power, Henry Fonda, Ran- 
dolph Scott, and Nancy Kelly ; produced by Nunnally 
Johnson and directed by Henry King, from a screen play 
by Nunnally Johnson : Excellent. 

"Arizona Wildcat," with Jane Withers and Leo Carrillo ; 
produced by John Stone and directed by Herbert I. Leeds, 
from a screen play by Barry Trivers and Jerry Cady : 
Good-Fair. 

"Tail Spin," with Alice Faye, Constance Bennett, and 
Nancy Kelly; produced by Harry Joe Brown and directed 
by Roy Del Ruth, from a screen play by Frank Wead: 
Good-Fair. 

"Three Musketeers," with Don Ameche, The Ritz Broth- 
ers, and Binnie Barnes ; produced by Raymond Griffith and 
directed by Allan Dwan, from a screen play by M. M. 
Musselman, William A. Drake, and Samuel Hellman : 
Good-Fair. 

"Pardon Our Nerve," with Lynn Bari, June Gale, and 
Michael Whalen; produced by Sol M. Wurtzel and di- 
rected by H. Bruce Humberstone, from a screen play by 
Robert Ellis and Helen Logan: Good-Poor. 

"Wife, Husband and Friend," with Warner Baxter, 
Loretta Young, and Binnie Barnes; produced by Nunnally 
Johnson and directed by Gregory Ratoff, from a screen play 
by Nunnally Johnson : Very Good-Poor. 

"Inside Story," with Michael Whalen and Jean Rogers, 
produced by Howard J. Green and directed by Ricardo 



Cortez, from a screen play by Jerry Cady : Fair-Poor. 

"The Lady Vanishes," with Margaret Lockwood, Michael 
Redgrave, and Paul Lukas ; directed by Alfred Hitchcock, 
from a screen play by Sidney Gilliat and Frank Launder : 
Very Good- Poor. 

Thirty-four pictures, including "The Lady Vanishes," a 
Gaumont-British picture, have been released. Grouping the 
pictures of the different ratings from the beginning of the 
season, we get the following results: 

Excellent, 2; Excellent-Good, 1; Very Good-Goud, 2; 
Very Good-Fair, 1; Very Good-Poor, 2; Good-Fair, 12; 
Good-Poor, 7; Fair, 3; Fair-Poor, 4. 

The first thirty-four pictures in the 1937-38 season were 
rated as follows : 

Excellent, 1 ; Excellent-Very Good, 2 ; Excellent-Good, 
1 ; Very Good-Good, 4 ; Very Good-Fair, 2 ; Good-Fair, 1 1 ; 
Good-Poor, 3; Fair, 7; Fair-Poor, 2; Poor, 1. 

Universal 

"Mars Attacks the World," with Larry Crabbe and 
Jean Rogers; directed by Ford Beebe and Robert Hill, 
from the original story by Alexander Raymond : Good- 
Poor. 

"Little Tough Guys in Society," with Mischa Auer, Mary 
Boland, and Edward Everett Hortou ; produced by Max H. 
Golden and directed by Eric C. Kenton, from a screen play 
by Edward Eliscu and Mortimer Offner: Very Good-Fair. 

"Strange Faces," with Dorothea Kent. Frank Jenks, and 
Andy Devine ; produced by Hurt Kelly and directed by 
Enrol Taggart, from a screen play by Charles Grayson : 
Fair- Poor. 

"Secrets of a Nurse," with Edmund Lowe, Helen Mack, 
and Dick Foran ; produced by Burt Kelly and directed by 
Arthur Lubin, from a screen play by Tom Lennou and 
Lester Cole: Fair- Poor. 

"Ghost Town Riders." with Bob Baker and Hank 
\Yarden ; produced by Trem Carr and directed by George 
Waggner, from a screen play by Joseph West : Fair. 

"Swing Sister Swing," with Ken Murray, Johnny Downs, 
and Ernest Trucx ; produced by Burt Kelly and directed 
by Joseph Santley, from a screen play by Charles Grayson: 
Fair-Poor. 

"Newsboys' Home," with Jackie Cooper, Wendy Barrie, 
and Edmund Lowe ; produced by Ken Goldsmith and di- 
rected by Harold Young, from a screen play by Gordon 
Kahn : Fair- Poor. 

"The Last Warning," with Preston Foster, Frank Jenks, 
and Frances Robinson; produced by Irving Starr and di- 
rected by Al Rogell, from a screen play by Edmund L. 
Hartmann: Fair-Poor. 

"Son of Frankenstein," with Boris Karloff, Basil Rath- 
bone, Bela Lugosi, Lionel Atvvill. and Josephine Hutchin- 
son ; produced and directed by Rowland V. Lee, from a 
screen play by Willis Cooper: Good-Fair. 

"Gambling Ship," with Robert W r ilcox and Helen Mack ; 
produced by Irving Starr and directed by Aubrey Scotto, 
from a screen play by Alex Gottlieb : Fair-Poor. 

"Pirates of the Skies," with Kent Taylor, Rochelle 
Hudson, and Regis Toomey ; produced by Barney Sarecky 
and directed by Joe McDonough, from a screen play by 
Ben G. Kohn : Fair-Poor. 

"Phantom Stage," with Bob Baker and Marjorie Reyn- 
olds ; produced by Trem Carr and directed by George 
W r aggncr, from a screen play by Joseph West : Poor. 

"You Can't Cheat An Honest Man," with W. C. Fields, 
Edgar Bergen, and Constance Moore ; produced by Lester 
Cowan and directed by George Marshall, from a screen 
play by George Marion, Jr., Richard Mack, and Everett 
Freeman : Very Good-Good. 

Twenty-eight pictures, including Westerns, have been 
released. Grouping the pictures of the different ratings 
from the beginning of the season, exclusive of one W r estern 
on which reports have not been obtained, we get the follow- 
ing results : 

Very Good-Good, 1 ; Very Good-Fair, 1 ; Good-Fair, 4; 
Good-Poor, 2; Fair, 7; Fair-Poor, 11; Poor, 1. 

The first twenty-eight pictures in the 1937-38 season, in- 
cluding Westerns, were rated as follows : 

Excellent-Very Good, 1 ; Excellent-Good, 1 ; Very Good- 
Good, 1 ; Good-Fair, 3; Fair, 10; Fair-Poor, 11 ; Poor, 1. 



Entered as second-class matter January 4, 1921, at the post office at New York, New York, under the act of March 3, 1879. 



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A REVIEWING SERVICE FREE FROM THE INFLUENCE OF FILM ADVERTISING 

Vol. XXI SATURDAY, MAY 6, 1939 No. 18 



THE GRIFFITH CIRCUIT PROSECUTION 

Under date of April 28, the Washington office of Allied 
States Association issued the following statement on the 
Government's action against the Griffith Circuit, of Okla- 
homa : 

L Answers Big Eight Propaganda. The suit filed by the 
Department of Justice in the Federal Court in Oklahoma 
today against the four corporations comprising the so- 
called Griffith Circuit and the Big Eight producer-distribu- 
tors, charging combination in restraint of trade, is second 
in importance only to the omnibus proceeding against the 
Big Eight filed in New York last July. 

It furnishes an effective answer to the propaganda being 
fed the exhibitors by the Big Eight and its thinly disguised 
agents to the effect that theatre divorcement and enactment 
of the Neely Bill will expose independent exhibitors to the 
ruthless competition of allegedly independent chains such 
as Griffith, Schine, Blank, Brandt, etc. 

That answer is : Monopolistic practices will not be toler- 
ated by the United States Government whether practiced 
by the Big Eight, so-called independent chains, cooperative 
buying combines, or other interests. There are many who 
should note well this attitude on the part of the Govern- 
ment. 

2. "The Right to Buy." During the negotiations preced- 
ing the Rosenblatt-imposed Code in 1933, Allied States 
Association advocated, as a logical means of neutralizing 
chain buying power, that films be sold on the basis of local 
competition in each competitive situation. This was called 
"the right to buy." Needless to say, it was assailed by the 
Big Eight, pooh-poohed by the pseudo-independent exhibi- 
tors and ignored by Rosenblatt. 

The Department of Justice after extended research and 
study has concluded that the policy advanced by Allied 
six years ago is best calculated to destroy monopoly and 
restore competitive conditions in the motion picture busi- 
ness. Paragraph (4) of the prayer of the complaint asks: 

"(4) That the defendant distributors herein, and each 
and all of their respective officers and directors and each 
and all of their respective servants, agents and employees, 
and all persons acting or claiming to act on behalf of said 
defendants or any of them, be perpetually enjoined and 
restrained from licensing feature pictures for exhibition on 
any run at any theatre in any of the Griffith Towns, except 
upon a local competitive basis whereby all theatres operat- 
ing in each of said towns will have an equal opportunity to 
license pictures for that area without regard to whether 
these theatres or any of them form or constitute a part of 
a circuit of theatres." 

3. Dissolution Also Asked. In addition to affording inde- 
pendent exhibitors competing with Griffith "the right to 
buy," the Government asks that the backbone of the Grif- 
fith monopoly be broken by dissolution of the four corpora- 
tions comprising the Griffith Circuit and the re-arrange- 
ment of their properties so as to restore competition. The 
complaint further asks — 

"(5) That the defendant exhibitors and each of them be 
dissolved and that their respective properties be arranged 
under several separate and independent corporations in 
such a manner as to terminate effectively the aforesaid 
monopolistic control in the licensing and exhibition of mo- 
tion pictures and prevent further violations of the Sherman 
Anti-Trust Act, and that said exhibitor defendants, their 
officers, directors, agents and representatives be required to 
make such divestiture and conveyances of their stockhold- 
ings and properties as shall be necessary in order to ac- 
complish such dissolution. 

"(6) That the Court appoint such receivers and trustees 
as may be necessary and appropriate to effectuate a disso- 



lution of the said exhibitor defendants and each of them 
and of the aforesaid monopoly in the licensing and exhibi- 
tion of motion pictures." 

4. Continuing Supervision. To insure that the combina- 
tion, once broken, is not re-established, the Government 
asks that the court retain jurisdiction to pass on future 
acquisitions of theatres by the Griffith Circuit. 

" ( 7 ) That the defendant exhibitors and each of them be 
enjoined and restrained from acquiring any additional thea- 
tres or financial interests therein, except where they shall 
establish to the satisfaction of this Court that such acquisi- 
tions will not unreasonably restrain competition or create 
or tend to create a monopoly in the licensing of feature pic- 
tures for first-run or second-run exhibition or in the opera- 
tion of first-run or second-run theatres in any of the towns 
in which they operate theatres." 

5. Exclusive Privileges. The complaint, while much 
shorter, contains many allegations reminiscent of those 
included in the New York suit. The Big Eight apparently 
accord the so-called independent chains the same privileges 
and advantages over smaller independent rivals that they 
give the affiliated theatres over such rivals. (Query: Are 
the independent chains able to command these special favors 
because of their massed buying power or have the Big Eight 
built them up by special privileges with the idea of eventu- 
ally taking them over ? ) 

Among the exclusive privileges enjoyed by the Griffith 
Circuit, according to the complaint, were the 

"(a) . . . selecting from the feature pictures released 
. . . such feature pictures as said exhibitors (Griffith) 
deemed suitable for exhibition in said towns, as and when 
prints thereof became available, before said pictures were 
released to any other exhibitors in said towns. 

"(b) . . . receiving clearance on said feature pictures 
over competing theatres in said towns." 

The Government charges that the foregoing exclusive 
privileges have enabled the Griffith Circuit to unreasonably 
restrain, suppress and entirely eliminate the competition 
offered by the theatre operators in said towns in the licens- 
ing and exhibition of theatres by — 

(a) Preventing them from obtaining enough firstclass 
pictures for exhibition on any run to operate their theatres 
successfully. 

(b) Forcing them to maintain admission prices higher 
than those warranted by the quality of the entertainment 
they were able to offer ; that is, feature pictures previously 
exhibited or rejected by the defendant exhibitors. 

(c) Preventing them from showing any feature pictures 
released by the defendant distributors with first-run clear- 
ance in any of said towns. 

(d) Preventing them from exhibiting any feature pic- 
tures released by the defendant distributors with second- 
run clearance in any of said towns where any of the de- 
fendant exhibitors operate one or more second-run theatres." 

6. More Suits to Come? Recently the Department of 
Justice intimated that it was contemplating ten more anti- 
trust cases dealing with motion pictures. This would mean 
there arc nine cases yet to come. At least that many will 
be necessary to reach all local monopolies and abuses of 
power not included in the main proceeding now pending 
in New York. 

Many observers are convinced that the job will not Ik* 
completed until there lias been a thorough airing of the 
manifold activities of the Hays Association. Chief |Miints of 
interest are efforts of that association to control public 
and exhibitor opinion by widespread propaganda, and its 
lobbying activities. Astonishment has been expressed at 
the testimony of Carl Millikeu at the Neely Bill hearings 
(Continued on last page) 



70 



HARRISON'S REPORTS 



May 6, 1939 



"Union Pacific" 

(Paramount, May 5 ; running time, 135 min.) 

An outstanding epic of the development of the great west. 
It is so well produced that, despite its length, it holds one's 
interest undiminished to the very end. What makes this 
picture different, and better, from other pictures of this 
kind that have been produced in the past is the fact that 
the action is logical, particularly in the critical situations. 
One of such situations is where the hero is shown clashing 
with a bully : the hero had learned that a bully had in- 
timidated the workers into stopping work. He reaches the 
place and finds him breaking up the wheelbarrows and the 
shovels, and brandishing an ax, threatening to wield it on any 
worker who would even touch a shovel, let alone do any 
work. The hero approaches him in a mild manner ; he then 
takes a shovel, and digs a bit of ground with it. When the 
bully was about to bring the ax down on him, he throws 
the dirt in the bully's eyes, incapacitating him. From that 
point on, lie had the bully on the "run." That naturally 
breaks the spell he had on the workers. This situation 
should cause the spectators to roar with laughter, in ap- 
proval with what the hero had done. 

Another thrilling episode is that which shows the Sioux 
Indians chopping down the posts that held the water tank, 
and wrecking the train, killing every one of the occupants 
except McCrea, Stanwyck and Preston. The attack of the 
Indians on the train is realistic in the extreme. 

The picture is just full of such tense episodes. 

The story deals with the efforts of those who believed 
in the development of the west and who felt that this could 
be accomplished by building the Union Pacific Railroad, for 
only thus could the west and the east be brought together. 
Put a money man (Henry Kolkcr), seeing an opjwrtunity 
to profit by their failure, engages a ruffian (Brian Donlevy) 
to put obstacles in the way of their progress. Donlevy fol- 
lows the end of the line with gambling paraphernalia, 
liquor and girls, until the promoters of the railroad engage 
the hero (Joel McCrea) to drive them out, and thus make 
it possible for them to complete the railroad on time to 
get the right for the extension to San Francisco. After 
efforts that put his life and the lives of his pals (Akim 
Tamiroff and Lynn Overman ) in danger. McCrea succeeds 
in driving out the villain, bringing about the railroad's 
completion. He also wins as a wife Barbara Stanwyck, 
who was the nostmistress of the railroad at the end of 
the track, moving her postoffice as the track moved ahead. 

Cecil B. DcMille produced and directed it, from an 
adaptation by Jack Cunningham, of a story by Ernest 
Haycox. The screen play was written by Walter DeLeon, 
C. Gardner Sullivan and Jesse Lasky, Jr. 

Class A. 

"Romance of the Redwoods" with Charles 
Bickford, Jean Parker. Gordon Oliver 
and Pat O'Malley 

(Columbia, March 24; time. 67 min.) 

Fair lumber mill melodrama, with a forest fire as the 
outstanding feature. The theme is that of two men loving 
one woman, but it is not very exciting or novel. There is 
a little human interest, and the love affair between the 
heroine and the one of the two heroes she loves is fairly 
interesting. The tempo is fairly fast. 

Charles Bickford, logger in a lumber mill, is secretly in 
love with Jean Parker, whom he had reared ever since her 
father had died. Gordon Oliver comes to the camp seek- 
ing a job. The boss would not hire him because he doubted 
whether he would do, but Bickford prevails on him to 
change his mind. Bickford takes Oliver under his protec- 
tion. Oliver saves Bickford's life when the clamp holding 
the log on the saw table became disengaged, and Bickford 
is grateful. But Bickford's heart breaks when he learns 
that Oliver loved Jean and was loved by her. The same 
accident that happened to Bickford happens to Oliver, but 
Bickford was too far away to take any action to save his 
life. Bickford is accused of having deliberately murdered 
Oliver, jealousy being given as the motive. He is tried but 
is acquitted. All the lumber camp workers, however, be- 
lieve him to be guiltv and shun him. Bickford, unable to 
bear the isolation, decides to leave. A forest fire breaks out 
and the lives of the very men who were against him are 
endangered. He is asked to save them, because only he 
knew of the forest trails. At first he refuses, but soon he 
changes his mind and goes to their rescue. After being 
rescued, the loggers change their minds about Bickford. He 
and Jean at last find happiness in marriage. 

The plot has been founded on the Jack London story. 
Michael Simmons wrote the screen play, and Charles Vidor 
directed it. In the cast are Alan Bridge, Ann Shoemaker, 
Lloyd Huges and others. 

Suitability, Class A. 



"The Lady's From Kentucky" with 
George Raft, Ellen Drew 
and Hugh Herbert 

(Paramount , April 28; /i;;ic, 76 min.) 

A fair drama. The action centers around the breeding of 
horses and horse racing, and is, therefore, limited in its 
appeal. The plot is pretty thin; before the picture is half 
finished, the spectator, knowing how it will end, loses in- 
terest in the outcome. With the exception of two exciting 
races, the action is slow, dealing for the most part with the 
breeding of horses and the ethics of racing. The perform- 
ances are adequate enough, considering the fact that the 
players were up against trite material. Hugh Herbert and 
Zasu Pitts supply the lighter mood and do it well. The 
romance 1 is pleasant : — 

George Rait, a bookmaker, who had risen to prosperity 
only to lose everything in one race, is consoled by bis 
friend (Hugh Herbert), who worked with him. While go- 
ing through his papers, Raft discovers an assignment giving 
him half ownership in a race horse that was being raised 
on a Kentucky farm owned by Ellen Drew. She is shocked 
when she learns the truth, but tries to make the best of 
things. Raft's attitude towards racing sickens her, for he 
was concerned only with what he could make out of it. 
Against her orders, he race-, the horse. Although the horse 
wins, the effort was too much for him, for he was young ; 
for a time it seems that he would die. Raft is sorry for 
what he had done, but Miss Drew refuses to talk to him. 
With good care, the horse recovers and is trained further 
by Miss Drew. On the day of the big race, Miss Drew is 
informed that she would have to scratch her horse because 
of Raft's reputation. But Raft delivers to the Racing Com- 
missioner a release of his share to Miss Drew. The horse 
is allowed to run; despite an injury, he comes through the 
winner. The injury meant, however, that his racing days 
were over. Miss Drew, sorry for having mistrusted Rait, 
begs his forgiveness; they are reconciled, and look forward 
to marriage. 

Rowland Brown wrote the story, and Malcolm S. Boy- 
land, the screen play; Alexander Hal! directed it, and Jeff 
Lazarus produced it. In the cast are Louise Beavers, Lew 
Payton, Forrester Harvey, Edward J. Pawley, and others. 

Suitability, Class A. 



"Calling Dr. Kildare" with Lew Ayres, 
Lionel Barrymore, Laraine Day 
and Laria Turner 

(MGM, April 28; time. 86 min,) 

Very good. It is one of those pictures that should please 
almost every one who sees it, for there is comedy in almost 
every foot of the film ; there is also human interest, and the 
spectator is held in pretty tense suspense. The comedy is 
caused by the talk and acts of Mr. Barrymore ; it is the 
kind that should appeal to class audiences as well as to the 
masses. The way Mr. Barrymore handles the situation in 
his desire to save Lew Ayres, the hero, from serious con- 
sequences and to help him become a real doctor gives one 
great pleasure. The only discordant note is the fact that 
the young doctor is not punished for having violated the 
ethics of his profession by having failed to report that he 
had treated a young man with a bullet in his chest. But 
the other doings are so pleasurable that the spectator will, 
no doubt, fail to take this infraction into much account: — 

As in the previous "Kildare" picture, Mr. Ayres is a 
young doctor, bent upon learning his profession well, and 
Mr. Lionel Barrymore. the ingenious diagnostician. Mr. 
Barr\more, crippled but still "alive," treats young Ayres 
with, what appeared to be. unjustified harshness. But Ayres 
never wavers in his belief that Barrymore is a great doctor. 
Barrymore, to give Ayres a chance to get "down to earth," 
dis.-harges him as his assistant in the hospital and has him 
transferred to a field clinic ; at the same time, he assigns 
a trusted nurse (Laraine Day) to report his doings. Ayres 
is called out on an emergency case but finds that the case 
was that of a young man with a bullet in his chest. The 
wounded boy's sister comes to the basement where the 
patient was kept and convinces Ayres that her brother had 
not murdered the man the newspapers had written about. 
Convinced of the young man's innocence, Ayres fails to 
report the case. This eventually gets him into great trouble, 
from which only the ingenuity of Barrymore is able to 
extricate him. In the end, Ayres proves that the young man 
whom he had treated was innocent, and brings about the 
murderer's arrest. 

Max Brand wrote the story, and Harry Ruskin and 
Willis Goldbeck, the screen play: Harold S. Bucquet 
directed it. In the cast are Nat Pendleton, Samuel S. Hinds, 
Lynne Carver and Emma Dunn. 

Suitability, as well as quality, Class A. Tempo, pretty fast. 



May 6, 1939 



HARRISON'S REPORTS 



71 



"Street of Missing Men" with Charles 
Bickf ord, Harry Carey, Guinn Williams 
and Tommy Ryan 

(Republic, April 28; time 65 win.) 

A pretty strong racketeer story, in which it is shown 
that the chief character, a racketeer, becomes regenerated 
in the end. There is plentiful action, and no little human 
interest. The attachment of the racketeer to a little news- 
boy, whom he takes into his own home and gives proper 
care, is appealing. Charles Bickford is realistic as the 
racketeer. Mr. Carey, too, gives a fine performance as the 
newspaper publisher who is bent upon ridding the city of 
graft. Tommy Ryan, as the little boy, also is appealing. 
The one bad feature is the fact that the chief character 
( Bickford) double-crosses his boss, the newspaper owner, 
almost up to the close of the story. But it is by no means a 
cheaply-produced picture : — 

Charles Bickford, a racketeer, who had been sent to 
Alcatraz by Harry Carey, newspaper publisher, comes out 
bent upon killing Carey. Near the newspaper building, 
Bickford sees rival gangsters destroying the news stand of 
little Tommy Ryan and, beating up the gangsters, he res- 
cues Tommy. They become pals. Bickford calls on Carey 
but finds him surprisingly cool and composed. Feeling that, 
to kill him at once would not only be insufficient punish- 
ment, but would also send him to the electric chair, Bick- 
ford invites Carey to a night club for his last meal. There, 
a rival gangster, who had learned of Bickford's interference 
in the attack on the news stand, threatens Bickford's life 
if he should not keep away from Carey. Incensed, Bickford 
accepts Carey's proposal to take charge of the paper's de- 
livery. He felt that in this manner he could put the paper 
out of business. He enters into an agreement with the rival 
gangsters for the destruction of the paper, and plants a 
time bomb in the press room. But as he was putting off 
"action," the head of the rival gang sends his henchmen 
to set fire to the building. In the meantime, Carey informs 
Bickford that he could have sent him back to jail be- 
cause of some evidence he had. Realizing that Carey was 
"straight," Bickford rushes to the newspaper building just 
as Tommy, who had discovered the gangsters at work, is 
shot. He saves Tommy's life ; then he rescues Carey, who 
had entered the burning building to get some valuable rec- 
ords. In returning for the bomb, Bickford loses his life. 

Eleanor Griffin and William Rankin wrote the story; 
and Frank Dolan and Leonard Lee, the screen play ; Sidney 
Salkow directed it, and Armand Schaefer produced it. In 
the cast are Mabel Todd, Nan Bryant, Ralph Graves, Regis 
Toomey, and others. Suitability, Class B. 



"Sweepstakes Winner" with Marie Wilson, 
Johnnie Davis and Allen Jenkins 

(First Natl., April 29; time 59 min.) 
A mildly amusing program comedy, centering around 
the racetrack. There's not much to the story or to the plot 
development for recommendation. It may do, however, as 
the second half of a program where a strong first feature 
is used. The actions of two of the characters, although 
treated from a comedy angle, are annoying and even de- 
moralizing, for everything they do is motivated by a desire 
to make "easy" money at the expense of some one else. 
Particularly annoying is the fact that they are constantly 
double-crossing the heroine, a timid soul, who places her 
trust in them. Newsreel shots of races have been worked 
into the plot in an effective manner. The romance is just 
hinted at: — 

Allen Jenkins and Charles Foy, two cheap race track 
followers, lose all their money on bad bets. When Marie 
Wilson, a small-town girl who had inherited $1,000, arrives 
with a letter of introduction to them, and requests them 
to help her buy a certain horse that had once belonged to 
her grandfather, they suggest that she first build up her 
fortune by allowing them to bet her money on races. They 
lose all the money, compelling Miss Wilson to go to work 
as a waitress in a cafe owned by Johnny Davis. They work 
on her sympathies, inducing her to buy a sweepstakes tic- 
ket. She wins first prize of $15(1. (MM). Jenkins and Foy are 
again ready to do her out of her money. They buy for her 
the horse she wanted, but instead of paving only $500. as 
the owner requested, thev nay him $15,000, on the under- 
standing that they would share the profits with him. Miss 
Wilson trains the horse for racing, and it makes a phenom- 
enal romeback, B"t Tenkins and Foy trick Miss Wilson 
again by entering the horse in a claim race, thereby forcing 
her to Spend her last $10,000 to buy the horse back. On the 
day of a bin race that meant everything to Miss Wilson, 
Jenkins and Foy again try to double-cross her, because 
another race horse owner had offered them money to Stop 
Miss Wilson's horse. But Miss Wilson's horse wins, despite 



their efforts to stop it. Davis, who had fallen in love with 
Miss Wilson, and knew what Jenkins and Foy were up to, 
finally asserts himself and punches them. This brings joy 
to Miss Wilson, who returned Davis' love. 

Albert DeMond and LIugh Cummings wrote the story, 
and John Kraft and Albert DeMond, the screen play ; 
William McGann directed it, and Bryan Foy produced it. 
In the cast are Jerry Colonna, Sidney Bracy, and others. 

The conniving and double-crossing make it unsuitable 
for children. Class B. 

"Lucky Night" with Myrna Loy 
and Robert Taylor 

(MGM, May 5; time, 82 mm.) 

A fair domestic comedy. The story is light-weight. As 
a matter of fact, any twenty-five dollar a week stenographer 
could have written a better story ; the wonder is that a 
fine organization such as MGM is should have approved 
such a "weakling" for production. As to conveying a moral, 
one may say that it teaches that winning at gambling is 
easy, and that all a person has to do is wish for things and 
they come. There is also considerable drinking : — 

Myrna Loy breaks her engagement for the fourth time 
because she did not particularly care for her fiance ; she 
then informs her wealthy father (Henry O'Neil), a steel 
magnate, of her intention to get a job and to be self-sup- 
porting. He lets her have her own way. On a park bench 
she meets Robert Taylor and they soon become well ac- 
quainted. Borrowing fifty cents from a policeman they go 
to a restaurant, but after dinner they discover that they 
had lost the money. Miss Loy "lifts" a dime tip from the 
counter and with it wins the jackpot on the slot machine, 
enabling them to pay the bill. Later they win a car in a 
raffle. They spend the rest of the night gambling and win- 
ning, and they celebrate by getting drunk. The following 
morning, they awake and learn, from the papers, that they 
had been married. Taylor decides to make their marriage 
a success ; thereupon, he obtains a job as a paint salesman 
at $35 a week, even though he knew nothing about paints. 
They are happy in a comfortable apartment until Taylor 
gets a $10 raise ; then the discord comes, for he wanted to 
celebrate and she objected, for she had become budget- 
conscious. Feeling defeated, Taylor quits his job and in- 
duces her to celebrate with him. for he felt that defeat as 
well as victory should be celebrated. But they are unable 
to recapture their former gay spirit, and Miss Loy returns 
to her father, believing her marriage to be a failure. No 
sooner does she reach home than she regrets her step and 
goes in search of her husband. In the meantime, Taylor, 
taking with him some curtains she had made and a small 
tree, (he actually carries it along with him and boards a 
Fifth Avenue bus) goes to see her father, to tell him his 
woes. Her father agrees that there is, after all, something 
in his viewpoint. Thereupon the two begin to drink cham- 
pagne until they become thoroughly "soused." Miss Loy 
returns from her unsuccessful search to find Taylor in her 
own bed. Everything is then patched up. 

Oliver Claxton wrote the story, and Vincent Lawrence 
and Grover Jones, the screen play; Norman Taurog di- 
rected it, and Lewis D. Lighton produced it. In the cast 
are Joseph Allen, Douglas Fowlcy, Bernard Nezzell and 
others. 

Suitability, Class A for adults. Class B for children, as 
well as for adolescents. Tempo, slow. 

"Confessions of a Nazi Spy" with 
Edward G. Robinson 

(First Nat'l., May 6; running time, 106 win.) 
An excellent production, and had the facts of the Nazi 
Spy investigation not become known to the American public 
cither through the trial, which took place in the Federal 
Court, in New York, or through Mr. Turrou's articles, 
which appeared in many papers throughout the country, 
there is no doubt as to how it would have performed at the 
box office. Yet the great publicity given to the picture may 
offset this drawback. There is realism in the action, as a 
result of excellent direction and artistic acting: the spec- 
tator is made to feel as if he is present at the original 
happenings. 

Warner Bros, deserve great credit for having had the 
courage to put Mr. Turrou's writings into a picture, and in 
view of the danuer to the lives of those who oppose Nazism, 
similar credit should p.o to the players who have imperson- 
ated the different spies. 

The scri - n play arrangement was made bv Milton Krim* 
and John Wexley, under the technical advice of Mr. Tur- 
rou himself. Anatole I.itvak directed it. Paul Lukas and 
Francis l.edcrcr take prominent parts. 

Class A. 



72 



HARRISON'S REPORTS 



May 6, 1939 



concerning the elaborate plans for carrying the association's 
propaganda into the churches, the schools and the homes. 
It is possible that a movement for a thoroughgoing investi- 
gation of the Motion Pictures Producers & Distributors of 
America will be launched next Fall. 

7. The Need for Vision. Allied has been hoping that 
those in ultimate authority in the Big Eight would see the 
need of voluntarily abandoning the monopolistic practices 
which are the targets of so many suits by the Government 
and by injured exhibitors and which are under the fire of 
so many religious, educational and welfare organizations. 
Thus far the sales executives have offered merely an agree- 
ment among seven of the Big Eight to perpetuate those 
practices in only slightly modified dangers inherent in this 
procedure, from two points of view. First, unless the de- 
mands of the Government and the public are measurably 
complied with, assaults from those quarters will continue. 
Second, an agreement to perpetuate oppressive trade prac- 
tices may suffer from the same legal infirmity as an agree- 
ment to initiate such practices. 

8. Allied Will Decide at Minneapolis. This bulletin 
should be regarded merely as a plea for a broader vision 
and a more defining policy by the Big Fight. It should not 
be construed as defining the attitude of Allied towards the 
trade practice proposals thus far submitted. The policy of 
Allied in that respect will be determined at the forthcoming 
convention in Minneapolis on June 13, 14 and IS. It is 
hoped that the exhibitors will then have a more liberal, at 
least a complete, program to consider. 



ABOUT THAT LIST OF THEATRES 
THAT HAVE CLOSED BECAUSE 
OF BLOCK BOOKING 

Sandwiched between other statements in the April 22 
editorial in Harrison's Reports was one statement that 
needs greater emphasis ; it is about the assertion made be- 
fore the Senate subcommittee that few theatres closed, even 
during the depression, as a result of block-booking. In 
reply, I said the following : 

"But it is not fair for them to ask for a list of the thea- 
tres that have gone out of business as a result of the block- 
booking system ; what they should have asked for is a list 
of the theatres that have been sold and resold innumerable 
times, for once a theatre is built it is hardly ever kept 
closed : when the owner of it finds it impossible to conduct 
it profitably he sells it to some other ambitious person. And 
the next proprietor does the same thing when he, too, finds 
out that he cannot make it go, and so on. It is this sort of 
information that would have enlightened the Committee." 

A list of this kind should include such theatres as have 
been sold to circuits, whether affiliated or unaffiliated, or 
to persons working in distributor exchanges, for such per- 
sons, by virtue of their position, are able to withhold from 
the exhibitors choice films, thus compelling them to sell 
out. With block-booking eliminated, such persons would be 
rendered helpless. 

Allied States Association should compile such a list at 
once. 



A CHALLENGE 

During the hearings on the Neely Bill before the Sub- 
Committee of the Senate Committee on Interstate Com- 
merce, there were made about the Bill many statements, 
the intent of which was to convince the members of the 
committee that the independent exhibitors did not approve 
of this Bill, and that they preferred the adoption of the 
Trade Practices Code, final draft of which was given out 
three days before the hearings began. 

Allied asserted, of course, that, with the exception of the 
producers themselves and of their affiliates, in addition to 
some exhibitor leaders whom they seemed to influence, no 
independent exhibitor was in favor of these reforms as they 
now stand. 

In a statement issued by Col. H. A. Cole, president of 
Allied States Association, the producers are challenged 
to prove to the independent theatre owners that they are 
correct in their assertions; they are asked to send represen- 
tatives to the Allied Convention in Minneapolis, at which 
time they will have an opportunity to express their views. 
Mr. Cole states that every exhibitor leader, regardless of 
his affiliations, has been invited to attend the convention 
and to bring along as many members of his association as 
he can. 

Says Mr. Cole partly: "One entire session will be set 
a^ide to discuss, pro and con, the merits or demerits of the 
proposed Trade Practice Reforms. Members of the Ne- 
gotiating Committees, both producer and exhibitor, will be 



invited to participate in these discussions. Producers will 
be given an opportunity to enlighten all exhibitors present 
and the world in general as to why they think the Trade 
Practice Proposals should be accepted. Others who do not 
like the Proposals in their present form will be given ample 
opportunity to arjjue the matter. After the whole thing has 
been thoroughly aired by both sides, a vote will be taken 
by all those present who can qualify as independent theatre 
owners, and what we mean by independent is one who has 
no circuit affiliations." 

Mr. Cole assures every one in the industry that this vote 
will nut be the result of steamroller tactics, hut the free 
expression of free men. It is in this manner, he feels, that 
the exhibitors' attitude towards the trade practices code, 
as now framed, will be ascertained. 

Harrison's Reports believes that Mr. Cole's offer is so 
fair that it should be accepted by all — that is, if there is a 
desire of the opponents of the Neely Bill to ascertain exhi- 
bitor sentiment, ami not merely to argue against it, regard- 
less of its merits. 



ABRAM MYERS' BRIEF TO THE SENATE 
COMMITTEE ON THE NEELY BILL 

The brief Mr. Abram F. Myers has submitted about the 
Neely BUI to the Sub-Committee of the Senate Committee 
on Interstate Commerce is really a statesman's document. 
So enlightening, thorough and inclusive is it. It is my be- 
lief that, if this document were to be read by the head of 
every fraternal, religious or civic organization in the United 
States, you should receive so much support from them that 
you should have little trouble in seeing the Neely Bill be- 
come a law. 

Mr. Myers tears down the arguments of the opposition, 
not by exaggerated statements, such as the opposition has 
made during the hearings, but by facts, figures and logic. 
Because of recent figures of salaries printed in the news- 
papers, he was able to prove to the committee that the pro- 
ducers are not poverty-stricken, needing help. He assured 
them that the 20% cancellation privilege is no privilege at 
all, that the ability of the exhibitor to contract for an out- 
standing attraction for which there is a public demand is 
not bettered, that the exhibitor obtains no relief from the 
preferred playing time evil, and discussed other of the pro- 
ducer concessions, proving to the Committee that the pas- 
sage of the hill is necessary. 

The Myers brief will be discussed more extensively in 
future issues of Harrison's Reports. 



A GRACIOUS ACT ON THE PART OF 
NEIL AGNEW OF PARAMOUNT 

The Paramount sales convention was originallv set for 
June 12, 13 and 14. 

Because these dates would, however, conflict with the 
dates of the Allied convention, which will be held at the 
Nicollet Hotel, in Minneapolis, on June 13, 14 and 15, Mr. 
W. A. Steffes requested Mr. Agnew to change his dates, if 
possible, so as to enable Paramount officials to attend the 
convention. 

A telegram that was received from Mr. Steffes last week 
announced that Mr. Agnew has complied with his request 
and has set the dates of the Paramount convention for the 
8th. 9th and 10th of the same month. 

The act of Mr. Agnew in changing the dates is gracious 
and members of the Allied organization will, I am sure, be 
thankful to him. Allied intends to make this convention a 
gathering of good will and the affair would not be complete 
without the presence of Mr. Agnew and of other Para- 
mount officials. 



A SENSIBLE DECISION BY THE 
FILM COMPANIES 

According to weekly Variety, the producers have decided 
this season to charge to the exhibitors "live and let live" 
film rentals, "with more give than take by the seller ap- 
pearing to suggest the trend." 

This news is so good that Harrison's Reports hastens to 
impart it to you and to congratulate V ariety for the alert- 
ness of its reportorial force in broadcasting this information. 

Up to this season, the policy of the producers has been 
to get more than they charged the previous season. They 
did not stop to think whether the exhibitor could pay more 
or not, or whether the saturation point had or had i.ot been 
reached ; the home-office orders were "get more I" You may 
imagine, then, how good is this news. 

Harrison's Reports feels sure that the exhibitors will 
take advantage of this new trend to obtain their next sea- 
son's pictures at prices that will enable them to make a 
living. 



Entered as second-class matter January 4, 1951, at the post office at N«w York, New York, under the acjt of March t, 1179. 

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A REVIEWING SERVICE FREE FROM THE INFLUENCE OF FILM ADVERTISING 

Vol. XXI SATURDAY, MAY 13, 1939 No. 19 



THE DISTRIBUTORS' SENSIBLE 
DECISION ON GOING EASY 
NEXT SEASON PRAISED 

In last week's issue I informed you of a news 
item in Variety to the effect that the distributors 
have decided to go easy on the exhibitors during 
the 1939-40 season by charging them for film a 
price that will enable them to make a living. Now 
comes W. A. Steffes, the Allied leader, and sheds 
additional light on the subject. He writes to this 
office as follows : 

"Dear Pete: 

"I was agreeably surprised in contacting many 
theatre owners while attending the Variety Club's 
National Convention in Detroit to learn from them 
that the film companies have finally awakened and 
realized that business is 25% to 30% off, and in 
some spots even more. 

"Of course, the big thing and the one that has 
impressed me most was that, in their realization of 
this, they are now actually offering film to exhibi- 
tors for less than the exhibitor paid for product 
last year. This, in my opinion, is a very gracious 
move on the part of the film companies and they 
should be complimented, for had they come out 
with their policies as they have heretofore, insisting 
on more money regardless, I am afraid that there 
would have been a lot of theatre owners through- 
out the United States who would have either had to 
close up or been forced to see their bankers. 

"I haven't had an opportunity yet to ascertain 
from the theatre owners in this territory whether 
or not the same thing holds true, but I imagine it 
does, because I talked to theatre owners from prac- 
tically every state in the Union while in Detroit. 

"The coming season does not look any too rosy 
but if the film companies will continue this live-and- 
let-live policy it might put a different aspect on 
business as far as the theatre owner is concerned. 

"I am passing this information along so that you 
may tell the exhibitors through your Harrison's 
Reports that the film companies deserve a pat on 
the back this time. We have been giving them the 
devil all along and I feel that they are entitled to a 
praise whenever they do anything that is praise- 
worthy." 

While the general policy of the 1939-40 season 
seems to have been established at the home offices 
on the live-and-let-live basis, exhibitors may find 
here and there a distributor representative who will 
insist upon doing business in the old way. I am sure 
that the exhibitor who will find himself in such a 
situation will be able to overcome the stubbornness 
of such representative, by telling him that an open 
theatre brings to the distributors greater profits 
than a closed theatre. 



THE ALLIED NATIONAL CONVENTION 
IN MINNEAPOLIS WILL BE AN EVENT 

Early information indicates that the Allied con- 
vention in Minneapolis, which will be held, as every 
one of you knows, at the Nicollet Hotel, in Minne- 
apolis, Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday, June 
13, 14 and 15, will be the biggest convention, and 
the most important, that has ever been held in the 
history of the organized exhibitor. 

The number of exhibitors that will attend will, 
of course, be more numerous than at any other 
national convention, for Allied has thrown the bars 
down and has invited exhibitors of all affiliations. 
There will be exhibitor leaders and members of 
MPTOA, and of local units that have no affiliation 
either with Allied or MPTOA. 

But the most interesting information is to the 
effect that there will be present distributor repre- 
sentatives from every film company. Bill Rodgers. 
of MGM ; Neil Agnew, of Paramount ; Jack Schlai- 
f er, of United Artists ; Bill Scully, of Universal ; 
A. Montague, of Columbia; Eddie Golden, of 
Monogram ; James R. Grainger, of Republic, are a 
few of those who have already expressed their in- 
tention to attend. 

There will be, of course, representatives from 
the other companies, and additional ones from the 
companies that have already accepted the invitation. 

Paramount has invited the trade papers to attend 
its convention in Hollywood, June 8. 9, and 10, and 
a delegation of Paramount executives will take the 
trade press representatives from Hollywood to 
Minneapolis. 

The accessory business, too, will have its repre- 
sentatives. George Dembow, and no doubt Herman 
Robbins, of National Screen Service, will be there. 
And so will Ed. Auger, of RCA Photophone. 

The names of others will be given as they are 
received. 

The Convention will not be all work ; there will 
be also play, for the men as well as for their wives, 
daughters, relatives and friends. And no one can 
surpass Al Steffes in entertaining guests ; he knows 
how to give a party. 

If you miss this convention you will miss, not a 
convention, but an event. 

Write or wire to \V. A. Steffes, in care of World 
Theatre Bldg., for reservations. And you had better 
do so at once, if you don't want to sleep on a cot in 
the corridor of some hotel. 



74 HARRISON'S REPORTS May 13, 1939 



"Rose of Washington Square" with Alice 
Faye, Tyrone Power and Al Jolson 

{20th tcntury-i ; ox, May 5 ; time, 85 min.) 

Very good entertainment. It is a human-interest drama 
with good musical interludes. With the exception of one 
number^ all the songs are old, made famous in musical 
snows many years ago by such cute: tamers as Al Jolson 
himself and fanny brice. i hey still sound good, because 
ot the way Jolson and M iss i'aye swig them. Tyrone Power's 
fans may be somewhat displeased at the unpleasantness of 
the part he portrays — that of an unscrupulous small-time 
gambler, whose misdeeds finally land him in prison. What 
makes the picture stirring, however, is the nobility dis- 
played by Miss Faye, who sticks by Power, even though she 
knew his weaknesses. The situation in which she sings 
from the stage the famous song "My Man, ' which specifi- 
cally referred to her own problems, thereby causing Power, 
who was in the audience, to repent, touches one's heart : — 

Jolson, a s.nging waiter, has hopes of breaking into big 
time vaudeville with Miss Faye as his partner. Disgusted 
at the way ih.ngs v\ere breaking for her, Miss Faye decides 
to go to the country for a rest. During her absence, Jolson 
gets his chance at an amateur show where Broadway pro- 
ducers were attending. He makes so good an impression 
that they sign him to appear as star in a Broadway musical 
show. In the meantime, Miss Faye had met and fallen in 
love with Power, a petty gambler and "cbiselcr." At a 
party given by Jolson on the opening night of his show, 
Miss have is induced to sing. She impresses Jolson's agent. 
Power, in need of money because of a debt to another 
gambler, pretends to be Miss Faye's agent, thereby receiv- 
ing a $2,500 advance for her services. Jolson tries to in- 
duce Miss Faye to give Power up, but although she knew 
all about him, she refuses; eventually she marries him. In 
time, she becomes a famous star. Again Power is in trouble : 
having sold valuable furniture belonging to a friend who 
was on a vacation, he is threatened with arrest; he is 
thus compelled to join forces with a gang of bond crooks 
in order to ob'ta:n money. He is caught and arrested ; Jolson 
posts $50,000 bail for him. But Power, afraid of prison, 
runs away. He sneaks into the theatre one night, where he 
hears Miss Faye sing "My Man." His conscience is so 
touched that he gives himself up. Although he receives a 
five year sentence, Miss Faye tearfully promises to wait for 
him. 

John l.arkin and Jerry Horwin wrote the story, and 
Xrnnally Johnson the screen play, he also produced it. 
Gregory Katoff directed it. In the cast are William Fraw- 
ltry, Joyce Compton, Hobart Cavanaugh. and others. 

Power's actions make it unsuitable for children. Good 
adult fare. Class B. Tempo is not particularly fast. 



"Torchy Runs For Mayor" with Glenda 
Farrell and Barton MacLane 

( Warner Bros., May 13 ; time, 59 mill.) 

A fair program comedy-melodrama. It is typical of the 
other pictures in this series, and should give satisfaction 
where the previous ones have gone over. The story is far- 
fetched ; but, since the action moves at a fast pace, it 
keeps one entertained. One is held in suspense during the 
closing scenes, because of the danger to the heroine, who 
had become involved with a gang of crooks. There is some 
comedy, and a few hints at the romance, but most of the 
footage is given over to the melodramatic situations : — 

Glenda Farrell, newspaper reporter, obtains evidence 
from a notebook she had stolen linking the crookedness in 
her town with the Mayor (Charles Richman) ; she had 
Famed that he was controlled by a certain doctor (John 
Milj an), from whom she had stolen the book. When her 
editor refuses to print the story, fearing that it would ruin 
his business, she goes to other editors, but meets with re- 
buffs. She finally induces an editor (Irving Bacon) of a 
small newspaper to print the story. Miljan's men go to see 
Ba :on, believing he had the book; not being able to find it. 
they heat him unconscious. Miljan then injects a poison 
into Bacon that kills him. Miss Farrell works on the case. 
As a joke, her fiance (Barton MacLane), a police in- 
spector, offers Miss Farrell's name for Mayor; to his sur- 
prise she accepts. Miljan kidnaps her, with the intention of 
killing her. But MacLane saves her and rounds up the 
gang. Miss Farrell is elected Mayor. 

Irving Rubins wrote the story, and Earle Snell the screen 
play ; Kay McCarey directed it, and Bryan Foy produced 
it. In the cast are Tom Kennedy, Frank Shannon, Joe 
Cunningham and George Guhl. 

Because of the murder, unsuitable for children. Not for 
Sunday showing. Tempo, fast. Class B. 



"Big Town Czar" with Barton MacLane, 
Tom Brown and Eve Arden 

{Universal, April 2.\ ; time, 66 mill.) 
A fair program gangster melodrama. Although the moral 
oi the story is that crime does not pay, parts of it are de- 
moralizing, as a result ot the actions ot a young man, who 
ci looses a life of crime, despite the pleas ot his elders, liis 
acts are so unpleasant that his death at the hands ot otiier 
gangsters does not touch one. The leading character, too, 
is a gangster ; an effort is made to work up sympathy for 
him but the effect on the spectator is just the opposite. The 
only ones with whom the spectator is in sympathy are the 
parents of the two racketeers. There is a mild romantic 
interest : — 

Barton MacLane, big-time racketeer, is made unhappy 
when, on a visit to his mother, he is ordered by her to 
leave. Because of his criminal activities, she refused to have 
anything to do with him. Her one hope was that her 
\ounger son (Tom Brown; would continue going to col- 
lege and live a decent life. After MacLane visits Brown at 
the college, Brown decides to leave school to follow in his 
brother's footsteps. MacLane tries to dissuade him, but 
Brown insists, and so MacLane takes him under his wing. 
But Brown cannot be controlled; he even outdoes his 
brother in criminal activities. Eventually he is killed by the 
henchmen of a rival racketeer (Jack LaRue), whom he had 
double-crossed. MacLane, frightened, leaves town. But, 
through a trick on the part of his former henchman (Frank 
Jenks), who had led him to believe that Eve Arden, his 
former sweetheart, had been kidnapped, MacLane returns. 
In a gun fight with LaRue, MacLane kills him, and is 
himself shot. 

1 he plot was adapted from a story by Ed Sullivan ; Ed- 
mund Hartmann wrote the screen play, Arthur Luhin di- 
rected it, and Ken Goldsmith produced it. In the cast are 
Walter Woolf King, Oscar O'Shea, Esther Dale, and 
others. 

Unsuitable for children and adolescents. Class B. Tempo 
fairly fast. 

"Blind Alley" with Chester Morris 
and Ralph Bellamy 

{Columbia, May 11 ; running time, 70 min.) 

A powerful crook melodrama, in which psychoanalysis 
takes a prominent part. Because of the fact that the lives of 
decent people are endangered by a band of murderers, one 
is held in tense suspense. The suspense is heightened by the 
determination of one of the captives, a professor of psy- 
chology, to destroy the murderer by revealing to him the 
"kink" that had made him a dangerous criminal, for in 
undertaking such a task he ran the risk of being cold- 
bloodedly shot. Chester Morris does excellent work as. the 
head of the gangsters. But it is the work of Ralph Bellamy 
that makes the picture so powerful — the intelligent way by 
which he goes about it and by his convincing acting ; with- 
out his artistry it would be just one more gangster picture. 

A killer (Chester Morris) and his band escape and, in 
seeking a hide-out, they take charge of the home of a 
professor (Ralph Bellamy) until their boat arrived to take 
them away. By threatening to kill any one who disobeyed 
them, the head killer makes them all do his bidding. The 
professor, however, realizing that a man such as this killer 
was too dangerous to be loose, decides to destroy him : 
having learned from the killer's moll (Ann Dvorak) that 
he had been hounded by the same dream (rain, and an 
umbrella that wouldn't stop the rain, and iron bars that 
suddenly arose before him, no matter which way he turned), 
he makes the killer believe that, unless he placed himself in 
his hands for a cure, he would go insane. Gradually the 
killer submits. The professor questions the killer, and by 
the process of deduction and elimination, he brings out the 
fact that, the rain was blood, the umbrella a table, and his 
inability to escape, because of the bars, was his guilt of 
having betrayed to the police his own father — the father 
had been shot by the police, the wounded man leaned over 
a table, the blood was dripping, and the killer, then only a 
boy, was underneath the table, the blood dripping on him. 
With the superiority complex gone, the killer loses his grip, 
and when the police surround the place he can no longer 
pull the trigger of his rifle. He is shot and killed. His men 
are either killed or captured. 

The plot has been founded on the James Warwick stage 
play. Charles Vidor directed it, and Fred Kohlmar pro- 
duced it. Joan Perry, Melville Cooper, and others are in 
the cast. 

Unsuitable for either adolescents or children.. Not good 
for Sundays. Tempo, slow, but it is offset by the vice-like 
grip in which the action holds one. Class B. 



May 13, 1939 



HARRISON'S REPORTS 



75 



"Juarez" with Paul Muni, Bette Davis 
and Brian Ahearn 

(Warner Bros., rcl. date not yet set; 127 win.) 

A magnificent production but only a mild entertainment. 
The pace is rather slow and the picture lacks the exciting 
situations that one expects from a production of this mag- 
nitude. Nevertheless, Warner Bros, deserve great creilit 
for having undertaken the picturization of such a story. The 
interest is held pretty well throughout. Mr. Muni does a 
fine piece of acting as Jaurez, the Indian patriot, President 
of Mexico, fighting for the emancipation of his people. 
Bette Davis, too, does a good piece of acting as Carlota, the 
Empress. But the opportunity for the finest acting was 
given to Brian Ahearn, as Maximilian, the unfortunate 
Emperor of Mexico ; Mr. Ahearn wins one's admiration for 
his convincing portrayal of the part. 

The story deals with the intrigue of Napoleon the 3rd, 
Emperor of France, to destroy Mexico's democracy and 
make it a vassal state of France. With this end in view, he 
makes Maximilian Hapsburg, of Austria, Mexico's Em- 
peror. Maximilian had been made to believe that the over- 
whelming Mexican vote for his election as Emperor was 
genuine, and not the result of the French bayonets. But 
Jaurez organizts the Mexicans to fight for their inde- 
pendence. At a crucial moment the United States Govern- 
ment instructs its Ambassador to France to tell Napoleon 
that, unless he withdrew his army from Mexico, the United 
States would intervene in behalf of Mexico. Frightened, 
Napoleon orders his Commander in Mexico to take his 
army and return to France. Maximilian, thus left alone, is 
defeated and captured. After a trial, he is put to death. 
Pleas to President Jaurez to spare his life proved unavail- 
ing, for he felt that the future safety of Mexico necessitated 
the death of Maximilian. 

The plot has been founded on the novel, "The Phantom 
Crown," by Bertita Harding, and on the play "Jaurez," by 
Franz Werfel. John Huston, Aeneas MacKenzie and Wolf- 
gang Reinhardt wrote the screen play. William Dieterle 
directed it, and Henry Blanke produced it. Some of the 
others in the cast are Claude Rains, as Napoleon ; John 
Garfield, as Diaz, the Mexican; Donald Crisp, as the Com- 
mander of the French troops in Mexico, and Joseph Calleia, 
as the faithless subordinate of Jaurez. 

Suitable for every member of the family. Class A. 



"The Rockie Cop" with Tim Holt, Virginia 
Weidler, Janet Shaw and Ace (a police dog) 

(RKO, April 28; time, 60 mm:) 
A pleasing little program crook melodrama, with youth- 
ful Tim Holt, whom women should like, and Virginia Weid- 
ler who, as usual, turns in a fine performance. There is 
some human interest, considerable excitement, and a fairly 
interesting romance. Most of the interest is aroused by the 
intelligence of Ace, the police dog, who is able to trace 
people by scent. 

The story is built around the belief of the hero, a rookie 
policeman, that his dog, which he had trained, was valuable 
to the force in tracing criminals by scent. But the police 
chief did not believe in such a "crazy" idea, until finally he 
is compelled to admit that the hero was right, for by means 
of this dog the hero captures a gang of criminals, and res- 
cues the heroine from their hands. 

Gjiy K. Austin and Earl Johnson wrote the story, and 
Jo Pagano the screen play ; David Howard directed it, and 
Bert Gilroy produced it. In the cast are Frank M. Thomas, 
Robert Emmett Keane, Monte Montague, and others. 

Suitability, Class A. Tempo, pretty fast. It should not 
prove objectionable to children, in that the criminals are 
punished in the end, or for Sunday showing where crook 
melodramas are not objected to. 



"Boys' Reformatory" with Frankie Darro 
and Grant Withers 

(Monogram, May 5; running time, 61 min.) 
A moving little melodrama, with fast action. What gives 
it its emotional quality is the young motherless hero's self- 
sacrilice; he prefers to go to jail rather than make unhappy 
the only mother he had ever known. And the self-sacrifice 
is iikuIc believable because of the good acting by Frankie 
Darro. Grant Withers, as the phvsieian at the reformatory 
wins one's sympathy by his kindliness. Frank Coghlan, Jr.] 
does a good piece of acting as the weakling son. whose guilt 



Frankie had shouldered. Lillian Elliott is good as the 
mother : — 

Darro, a hard-working lad, is loyal and grateful to- Miss 
Elliott, who had reared hiin. But Coghlan, Miss Elliott's 
weakling son, frequents a poolroom and is induced by his 
criminal associates to take, part in a robbery. They are 
chased by the police and Coghlan, who was driving a car. 
escapes with the loot. When he arrives home excited, 
Darro, to save. Coghlan's mother from disgrace, drives the 
car with the loot away with the intention of abandoning it 
somewhere. But the police notice him and chase him. He i^ 
caught and, because he is unwilling to talk, is sent "to' the 
reformatory. Withers, having taken a liking to Darro, 
makes him his assistant. Darro is shocked when he sees 
Coghlan brought to the reformatory. At first he is furious 
at him for having broken his promises to go straight, but 
when Coghlan eventually convinces him that he had been 
framed by Ben Welden, the head of the crook ring who was 
using boys for doing the jobs, he agrees with one of 
Welden's stooges to escape, his purpose being to "get" 
Welden. They escape and he is taken to the hide-out in the 
city. But the stooge tells Welden that Darro was not "on 
the level," and Darro's life is placed in danger. But With- 
ers, whom Darro had telephoned, arrives with the police in 
time to save his life and to arrest the criminals. Darro is ex- 
onerated, and because of his good work Coghlan is put on 
probation. Miss Elliott is happy to see her two boys back. 

The story is by Ray Trampe and Norman S. Hill, the 
screen play by Mr. Trampe and Wellyn Totman. Howard 
Bretherton directed it, and Lindsley Parsons produced it. 
David Durand, Warren Collum and Albert Hill, Jr.. are 
in the cast. 

Because of the good moral it conveys, it may be put in 
the A Class, in spite of the fact that it deals with crooks 



"It's a Wonderful World" with Claudette 
Colbert and James Stewart 

(MGM, May 19; time, 85 min.) 

Very good! Combining comedy with romance and mur- 
der mystery melodrama, the picture offers entertainment 
that has mass as well as class appeal. The action is fast, 
and, towards the end, becomes tensely exciting. Consider- 
ing the fact that the story is lightweight, much of the credit 
for the entertaining quality of the picture is due to the 
engaging performances by the leading players and the com- 
petent supporting cast. Some of the situations provoke 
heart) laughter. One of the most comical situations is that 
in which the police inspector confronts two detectives with 
a newspaper picture showing them chatting with an escaped 
prisoner they had been searching for ; they had not recog- 
nized him. Throughout there are situations as comical :— 

When James Stewart, a private detective, finds his most 
important client (Ernest Truex) involved in a murder 
ca.se, he decides to hide him .until he could obtain evidence 
proving his innocence. Stewart feels certain that Truex' 
young wife (Frances Drake) was-in sonic way mixed up in 
it. But Truex is found and arrested and Stewart, too, is 
arrested for having obstructed the law. Stewart, is sen- 
tenced to a year in prison. While riding in the train taking 
him to prison, Stewart comes upon a newspaper item that 
gives him a definite clue in the case. Through a trick, -he 
escapes. He steals an automobile belonging to Claudette 
Colbert, a poetess, forcing her to accompany him. Thgugh 
frightened at first, Miss Colbert calms down"; after hearing 
Stewart's story and the fact that Truex had promised him 
$100,000 if he could save him, she decides to work with 
Stewart. At times she is a hindrance, but for the most part, 
a help. Their search takes them to a summer. theatre where, 
after many mishaps and exciting experiences; Stewart 
finally unravels the case. He proves that Miss Drake and 
her lover (Sidney Blackmcr) had committed the murder 
in order to involve Truex, their hoi>e being that he would 
be found guilty. In that way Miss Drake would have in- 
herited her husband's fortune. Stewart prevents them from 
committing another murder — that of Miss Drake's former 
husband, from whom she had not been divorced, and who 
was trying to blackmail her. By this time. Stewart and Miss 
Colbert are madly in love with each other. 

Ben Hecht and Herman J. Mankiewiez wrote the story, 
and Ben Hecht. the screen play; W. S. VanDyke II di- 
rected it, and Frank Davis produced it. In the cast are 
Guy Kibbee, Nat Pendleton. Edgar Kennedy, and others. 

Because of the murder it is unsuitable lor children. Good 
for adolescents and adults, Suitability, therefore, Class B. 



76 



HARRISON'S REPORTS 



May 13, 1939 



CRIME SCHOOL 

It is peculiar that types of pictures that go in 
cycles are not confined to the United States alone; 
the whole world seems to be affected. 

For several months there has been an outcry in 
the United States against the fact that the number 
of crime pictures that are produced are too many. 
And there has been an outcry against the same thing 
in India. Here is part of an editorial that I read in 
Filmindia, a trade paper published in Bombay : 

"The ever increasing tendency among Indian 
producers to produce crime pictures is to be de- 
plored. Our producers are on the wrong track. In- 
stead of doing real social and national work by 
producing pictures that would elevate the moral 
standard of our people and educate the nation on 
right lines through this all-important instrument of 
visual education, they are falling over one another 
to establish a crime school in India after the style 
and fashion pursued by the Americans. . . . 

"It does not need much intelligence to imagine 
the sad effect of such pictures on the minds of our 
growing younger generation. 

"Even our present-day professional criminals 
are taking pointers from these films, made thrilling 
by the versatile brains of the script writers. 

"As a result of these dirty pictures, crime in the 
country has been in the increase. So many methods 
of committing crime and escaping have been shown 
in these films, that the amateur criminal soon be- 
comes a professional feeling himself safe in this 
newly acquired knowledge from the films. . . . 

"Why should talents be prostituted to teach 
crime to our people when so many other things can 
be taught — things which will turn our country into 
a nation of better men?" 

The advice that editor Baburao Patel has given 
to the Indian producers applies with equal force to 
the American producers. For several years the 
number of crime pictures produced by them has 
been altogether out of proportion to the other types. 
Some companies have based more than one-half of 
their product on crime stories. 

Let us glance at the crime pictures that have been 
reviewed in Harrison's Reports since the first 
week in January : 

In the nineteen weeks since the first week in 
January, 142 pictures have been reviewed. Of 
these, 82 or 56 7 % 00 %, have been founded on 
some kind of crime theme — either murder or steal- 
ing. It is astounding! 

Of course, not all of them are demoralizing — 
perhaps about one-third of this number are harm- 
less ; but when one takes into consideration the 
extraordinarily high percentage of vicious crime 
pictures, one wonders whether the Hollywood pro- 
ducers realize what the outcome may be. 
Are crime pictures harmful ? 
While in Detroit, attending the National Con- 
vention of the Variety Club, I was told by an ex- 
hibitor that, the following day after the opening of 
"Huckleberry Finn" at his theatre, twenty corn- 
cob pipes disappeared from the neighborhood drug 
store ; the boys who stole these pipes were influ- 
enced by Mickey Rooney's smoking. 

I have been informed that there is a definite boy- 
cott against pictures of this type in many parts of 
the United States, carried on by the Parents Teach- 
ers Association and by the Women's Clubs, and, 
judging by the poor reception these crime pictures 



are receiving, I would not be surprised if this boy- 
cott is national. Do you wonder, then, why the pic- 
ture business has been shot to pieces? 

If any one should tell you that this type of pic- 
tures does not influence the minds of young boys 
adversely, because the criminal is punished in the 
end, tell him to have his head examined by a psychi- 
atrist. You can't show to young minds the commis- 
sion of crime for five reels and expect the influence 
of their seeing crime committed to be effaced just 
because the criminal is punished for his misdeeds 
in the last reel ; the natural tendency for a young 
man is to say to himself: "How foolish he was to 
be caught: If it was me, I wouldn't have done it 
that way." 

Some pictures show the criminals brave and fear- 
less and reckless. That impresses the minds of the 
young more than the punishment the criminal re- 
ceives in the end. 

Gentlemen-producers! You had better clean up 
your house before it is cleaned up for you. Do you 
remember the outcry against sex pictures? You 
were compelled to heed that outcry. Well, worse 
things will happen to the industry if you don't stop 
making so many crime pictures. But the sad part of 
it will be that the exhibitors, innocent parties, will 
suffer more than will you. 

BOX-OFFICE PERFORMANCES OF 
1938-39 SEASON'S PICTURES — No. 5 
Warner Bros. Pictures 

"Nancy Drew, Detective," with Bonita Gran- 
ville. Frankie Thomas, and John Litel ; produced 
by Bryan Foy and directed by William Clemens, 
from a screen play by Kenneth Garnet: Fair-Poor. 

"The Dawn Patrol," with Errol Flvnn, David 
Niven, Basil Rathbone, and Donald Crisp; pro- 
duced by Robert Lord and directed by Edmund 
Goulding. from a screen play by Seton I. Miller and 
Don Totheroh : Very Good-Good. 

"Devil's Island," with Boris Karloff ; produced 
by Bryan Foy and directed by William Clemens, 
from a screen play by Don Ryan and Ken Garnet : 
Good-Fair. 

"King of the Underworld," with Kay Francis 
and Humphrey Bogart ; produced by Bryan Foy 
and directed by Lewis Seiler, from a screen play by 
Ceorge Bricker and Vincent Sherman: Good-Fair. 

"Off the Record," with Joan Blondell and Pat 
O'Brien ; produced by Sam Bischoff and directed 
by James Flood, from a screen play by Earl Bald- 
win, Niven Busch, Laurent Kimble, and Robert 
Buckner : Fair. 

"They Made Me a Criminal," with John Gar- 
field and Gloria Dickson ; produced by Benjamin 
Glazer and directed by Busby Berkeley, from a 
screen play by Sig Herzig : Good-Fair. 

"Wings of the Navy," with George Brent, John 
Payne, and Olivia deHavilland ; produced by Hal 
B. Wallis and directed by Lloyd Bacon, from a 
screen play by Michael Fessier: Very Good-Fair. 

Twelve pictures have been released. Grouping 
the pictures of the different ratings from the begin- 
ning of the season, we get the following results : 

Very Good-Good, 3 ; Very Good-Fair, 1 ; Good, 
1 ; Good-Fair, 5 ; Fair, 1 ; Fair-Poor, 1. 

The first twelve pictures in the 1937-38 season 
were rated as follows : 

Excellent- Very Good, 1 ; Very Good-Good, 2 ; 
Good-Fair, 3 ; Good-Poor, 1 ; Fair, 1 ; Fair- Poor, 4. 



IN TWO SECTIONS— SECTION ONE 

Entered as second-class matter January 4, 1921, at the post office at N«w York, New York, under the act of March 3, 1879. 

Harrison's Reports 

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^ opy Columns, if It is to Benefit the Exhibitor. 

A REVIEWING SERVICE FREE FROM THE INFLUENCE OF FILM ADVERTISING 

Vol. XXI SATURDAY, MAY 20, 1939 No. 20 



ENCOURAGING SIGNS IN FIRST-RUN 
DOWN-TOWN SITUATIONS 

For several years the down-town first-run theatre situa- 
tions have been controlled by the affiliated circuits, but it 
seems as if their grip is beginning to be loosened up. From 
Boston comes word that an independent has acquired con- 
trol of the Beacon, and in Buffalo another independent has 
taken over the Century. 

What is causing conditions to alter is the dissatisfaction 
of the owners of the properties themselves. Since 1929, the 
heads of the affiliated circuits have been going to the land- 
lords (banks in most instances, demanding a reduction in 
rent, and the landlords have reached a point where they 
have become so fed up with the tenants that here and there 
a landlord casts an eye around for some independent to take 
over his theatre. That is how it happened that the afore- 
mentioned theatres have been leased to independents. 

What has gone on in Boston and Buffalo must have gone 
on hi some other big cities throughout the country. 

It seems as if a new life has been infused into the indepen- 
dent ranks : the independent exhibitors, encouraged by the 
equity suits that the Government has brought against the 
major companies, as well as against independent theatre 
chains, to break up the monopoly that these have established 
years ago and have enjoyed ever since, do not fear to ven- 
ture into realms hitherto barred to them ; they undoubtedly 
feel that the market will, sooner or later, be thrown open, 
and believe that they will have no trouble in getting product. 

The loosening of the circuit grip on the first-run down- 
town situations is not going to prove detrimental to the 
motion picture industry in general, even though it might 
prove so to some individual companies. With a free market, 
producers with brains, money and initiative, and with a 
desire to produce independently, will have an opportunity 
to satisfy their desires, whereas they are now shut out. 

The independent producing-distributing companies should 
encourage the freeing of the market from the affiliated grip. 



THE TREK TO MINNEAPOLIS 

This paper has just been informed that Mr. George 
Skouras, one of the three Skouras brothers, operators of a 
large number of theatres, has accepted Mr. Steffes' invita- 
tion to be present at the Allied convention in Minneapolis. 

Some of the other executives who have already signified 
their intention to attend the convention are the following 
(their names in alphabetical order) : 

Neil Agnew, general manager of Paramount ; N. J. Blum- 
berg, president of Universal (if he can make it — he is taking 
his family to the Coast the first week of June) ; George 
Dembow, National Screen Service ; Ned Depinet, vice 
president and general manager of RKO (will exert a great 
effort to be there) ; Henri Elman, of Monogram Pictures; 
.[. E. Flvnn, of MGM ( will exert a great effort to be there) ; 
W. C. Gehring, of 20th Century-Fox ; Edward A. Gulden, 
\ ice president of Monogram Pictures; J. R. Grainger, 
president of Republic Pictures; W. Kay Johnston, presi- 
dent of Monogram Pictures Ed. Kuykeudall. president of 
Ml'TOA; Jules Levy, general sales manager of RKO; 
Ray Lewis, publisher Canadian Moving Picture Diyest; 
Abe Montague, general sales manager of Columbia (will 
exert a great effort to be there) ; David Palfreynian, of the 
I lays office; Terry Ramsaye, editor of Motion Picture 
Herald, H. M. Richey, Public Relations Department of 
RKO; Herman Robbins, of National Screen Service; 
Wm. F. Kodgers, general manager of distribution of Metro- 
Goldwyn-Mayer ; Max Roth, of Republic Pictures; E. M. 
Saunders, of Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer ; L. J. Schlatter, vice- 



president of United Artists ; Wm. A. Scully, general sales 
manager of Universal ; Gradwell L. Sears, president of 
Warner Bros. Pictures ; Harry Sherman, producer of the 
Hopalong Cassidy series of westerns for Paramount ; Mort 
H. Singer, operator of theatres for RKO; Herbert J. 
Yates, Sr., of Republic (will attend if he can possibly post- 
pone his trip to London). 

From this array of celebrities, and of others who will no 
doubt inform Mr. Steffes that they will attend, you may 
realize, I am sure, what a sensational convention it will be. 

If you are planning to attend and you have not yet made 
your reservations, write, telegraph or telephone Mr. W. A. 
Steffes, chairman of the Convention Committee, in care 
of World Theatre, Minneapolis, for reservations ; if you 
have not yet formulated your plans, formulate them right 
now, before all the rooms are taken up. If you should miss 
this convention, you will have missed one of the most im- 
portant events in your career as an exhibitor. 



HARRISON'S FORECASTER NOW COM- 
BINED WITH HARRISON'S REPORTS 

Since the summer of 1931, forecasts of such novels, stage 
plays, and magazine stories as were announced each season 
tor production and were available were published in a 
service distinct from Harrison's Reports, called Harri- 
son's Forecaster, for which a separate charge was made. 
Hereafter, this information will, when and as available, 
appear in these columns as part of the regular service. No 
extra charge will be made for it to subscribers of Harri- 
son's Reports. 

So far, this office has been able to obtain a complete list 
of material only from Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer. 

It is becoming more and more difficult to obtain synopses 
of such material from the other companies, but this office 
hopes to be able to obtain a fairly complete list from United 
Artists ; and, in view of the fact that this company is now 
selling its pictures either singly or in as large or as small 
groups as an exhibitor desires to purchase, forecasts of this 
company's story material should prove of great value to 
subscribers of Harrison's Reports. 

Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer 

"AFTER DARK," the Saturday Evening Post story, 
by Graeme Lorimer and Sarah Lorimer, with Ina Claire 
as the star. It is a drama in which a son hates his father, 
because the father had been tried for the murder of a 
prostitute, and, even though acquitted, the son felt humili- 
ated. But the wife stands by him. The father becomes re- 
generated. 

Comment : The character of the father is not sympathetic 
in the first part, because he proves unfaithful to his wife. 
The son is a cad. It is the wife whose loyalty wins one. 

Forecast : With proper treatment the story could make 
a powerfully dramatic picture. The father, whom the story 
presents as having murdered a prostitute, with whom he 
had become infatuated, might be presented as having been 
innocent of the crime. The son could be made to find out 
how noble his father was and have a guilty conscience for 
having had so little faith in his father. With such alterations 
the picture could turn out from very good to excellent in 
quality. 

"ALASKA," with Clark Gable — a melodramatic adven- 
ture unfolding in Alaska, in which the hero, finding himself 
after the Civil War impoverished, accepts an assignment 
from Seward, Secretary of Slate, to go to Alaska to work 
against the English while the Secretary was effecting the 
{Continued on last page) 



78 



HARRISON'S REPORTS 



May 20, 1939 



"Tumbleweeds" with William S. Hart 

(Astor Pictures, rel. May 20; time, 86 min.) 

This is a reissue, having been produced in 1925 and re- 
leased that year through United Artists ; consequently, it 
is silent. It has, however, been fitted with sound effects. 

But it is by no means a reissue of an ordinary western. 
Had it been produced today, it would undoubtedly have 
cost more than one million dollars. The "rush" scene that 
shows men, women and children, speeding in all kinds of 
conveyances to stake homesteads in the Cherokee strip of 
land, which had been thrown open for settlement by the 
United States Government, is as thrilling as was a similar 
scene in Edna Ferbcr's "Cimarron," produced by RKO the 
latter part of 1930; the same maddened crowd, riding fast 
"to get there first," as was seen in "Cimarron," is seen in 
"Tumbleweeds." 

The picture lias been fitted with sound effects so well that 
after a while one is apt to become oblivious to the fact that 
the actors do not talk. And James Bradford, that veteran 
musician and composer, has fitted it with music with the 
same old skill, delighting one. 

In addition to the sound fitting, the distributors have had 
Mr. Hart appear before the camera for a talking reel, which 
forms the prologue of the picture. Those who remember 
Mr. Hart in the silent days will get a surprise to hear him 
talk. And the talk is not ordinary ; the famous actor reveals 
his heart through it — his love for the great west. In spots, 
he moves one deeply. 

The story is interesting. In it, Mr. Hart is shown as a 
man w ho stands by the weak when the strong try to take 
advantage of them. In this instance, the heroine is Barbara 
Bedford, sister of the villain, a half-brother of hers ; he had 
become acquainted with her through her little brother, Jack 
Murphy, whom he had defended when Richard R. Neil, 
their half-brother, had tried to beat him up. Up to that 
time, Mr. Hart was a tumbleweed, being rolled by the wind 
from place to place just as is that grass when dry ; but upon 
meeting Barbara, he decides to stake in her name a home- 
stead, the Bar K Ranch, of which he had been foreman. 
Through the machinations of Neil and of a co-worker of 
his, Hart is thrown into jail as a "sooner," but Hart 
breaks away and stakes the homestead. A misunderstanding 
arises betw'een Barbara and him, but in the end she realizes 
Hart's true worth. 

The familiar face of Lucien Littlefield appears in the 
picture ; he is Hart's pal. The story was written by Hal G. 
Evarts, was adapted to the screen by C. Gardner Sullivan, 
and directed by King Baggot. The action is much faster 
than that of the silent version, because it is projected at the 
rate of 90 feet a minute, instead of 70 feet a minute, the rate 
at which it was photographed. 

Class A. 



"Trapped in the Skies" with Jack Holt 

(Columbia, June 1 ; time, 61 min.) 

A typical Jack Holt program melodrama. Although the 
story is somewhat far-fetched, it should hold the attention 
of those who prefer action to story values. The action keeps 
one in suspense, since it is not disclosed, until the end, how 
the spies managed to commit sabotage. The picture holds 
little attraction for women, for there is no romance : — 

Jack Holt, a Major in the U. S. Air Corps, arranges 
with Army officials for a demonstration of a plane con- 
trolled by wireless, invented by Holmes Herbert. But the 
test fails, and the plane crashes, killing the pilot. Upon 
examining the wreck, Holt is convinced that sabotage had 
been committed by spies. He hits upon a plan to uncover 
the identity of the guilty persons ; but first it was necessary 
for him to leave the Army. He works out a scheme with 
his commander whereby the blame for the accident is put 
upon him, thereby causing him to be dishonorably dis- 
charged. The scheme works, for the spies try to contact 
him, with the intention of trying to buy from him the plans 
for the plane. Two of the members of a competing ring are 
killed before Holt is able to solve the mystery. He proves 
that the inventor himself was working with the spies and 
bad committed the sabotage on the plane, hoping that the 
United States government would turn it down so that he 
could sell it to foreign agents for more money. Holt forces 
him to confess. His work finished, Holt returns to his 
Army post. 

Eric Taylor and Gordon Rigby wrote the story and 
screen play; Lewis D. Collins directed it, and Larry Dar- 
mour produced it. In the cast are C. Henry Gordon, Ralph 
Morgan, Kathcrinc DeMille, Paul Everton, Sidney Black- 
mer, Ivan Lebedeff, and Regis Toomey. 

Suitability, Class A. 



"Hotel Imperial" with Ray Milland, 
Isa Miranda and Reginald Owen 

(Paramount, May 12; time, 79 min.) 
A rather tiresome drama, with forced comedy situations. 
The story is preposterous ; and, since the action is confined 
mostly to one place, it naturally lacks speed, depending 
mainly on dialogue for the plot development. Even the ro- 
mance lacks credibility. The interjection of songs by the 
Don Cossack Choir and one song by Isa Miranda is pleas- 
ant, but of slight importance to the picture. The only out- 
standing performance is that given by J. Carrol Naish, 
mainly because his is the only colorful role. The action 
takes place in Galicia, during the World War : — 

Knowing that her sister, who had worked as a chamber- 
maid at the Hotel Imperial during its occupancy by Aus- 
trian officers, had killed herself because of a man, Miss 
Miranda, an actress, in order to find the guilty man, goes 
to the hotel, applying for work as a chambermaid. She 
learns that her sister had often frequented room 12; but 
before she could find out who had occupied that room, the 
Austrians are forced to retreat before the Russians, who 
occupied the town. Going to room 12, she finds there Ray 
Milland, an Austrian officer, who was hiding from the 
Russians. Believing him to have been the man who had 
betrayed her sister, she gives him away to the Russian 
officers ; but he escapes. Gene Lockhart, the hotel porter, 
an Austrian by birth, helps Milland by dressing him as a 
waiter. When Miss Miranda discovers that she had been 
mistaken about Milland, she tries to help him. It is later 
that she finds out that Naish, a member of the Russian 
Secret Service, was the man responsible for her sister's 
death. She goes to his room to kill him ; but Milland, who 
had gone there to help Naish, believing him to be an Aus- 
trian officer, only to find that he was a Russian spy, shoots 
him first. He then escapes in order to warn the Austrian 
Army about a Russion scheme to annihilate them. When 
Naish dies, Miss Miranda takes the blame; she is sen- 
tenced to death. Milland, leading the Austrians, arrives in 
time to vanquish the Russians, saving Miss Miranda's life. 
Having fallen in love with each other, they are happy to 
be together once more. 

Lajos Biro wrote the story, and Gilbert Gabriel and 
Robert Thoeren, the screen play ; Robert Florey directed it. 
In the cast are Curt Bois, Reginald Owen, and others. 

Suitability, Class B. 



"Outside These Walls" with Michael 
Whalen, Dolores Costello and 
Virginia Weidler 

( Columbia, May 4 ; time, 61 min. ) 

A pretty good program melodrama. It is a prison picture, 
but contrary to others of this type it does not deal with 
crime ; it shows the rehabilitation of a young man who had 
gone slightly wrong, but only once. He had stolen money 
from his employer just to provide for his wife the things 
she had been accustomed to. She had married him without 
her parents' consent and for this reason she was cut off. 
She eventually dies of a broken heart. There is some human 
interest, and one's attention is held pretty well. 

The hero (Michael Whalen) is made the editor of the 
prison paper and when, during a revolt of the prisoners, he 
saves the warden's life, he is pardoned by the Governor, but 
he refuses to accept the pardon on the ground that, since he 
had erred, he wanted to pay his debt to-society fully. When 
he is released, he goes to seek his child (Virginia Weidler), 
who, after her mother's death, had gone to live with her 
puritanical aunt. W halen tries to get a job on a newspaper, 
but with no success. Finally he decides to buy a neighbor- 
hood paper, borrowing $500 from the warden (Selmar 
Jackson), who had great faith in him. Whalen makes the 
newspaper a success, and when Jackson loses his job, he 
puts him up as a candidate for Governor with a program to 
clean up the city's graft. One of Whalen's ex-cellmates 
"pulls a job," and since he had called on Whalen once, the 
police accuse Whalen of complicity, arresting him. The 
rival paper, owned by Dolores Costello, sister of the opposi- 
tion candidate, prints his prison record. Whalen's little 
daughter, who had heard her father order the criminal off 
the premises, calls on Miss Costello and, convincing her 
that her father was innocent, enlists her support and obtains 
her father's freedom. A romance develops between Miss 
Costello and Whalen. 

Ferdinand Reyher wrote the story, and Harold Buchman, 
the screen play ; Raymond B. McCarey directed it. 

Be ; ng a prison picture it may be classed as B. 



May 20, 1939 



HARRISON'S REPORTS 



79 



"Missing Daughters" with Richard Arlen, 
Rochelle Hudson, Isabel Jewell, Marian 
Marsh and Edward Raquello 

(Columbia, May 26; time, 59 Him.) 

Produced very well ; it holds one's interest undiminished 
to the end. But the thttine is so bold that theatres that cater 
to family trade may not be able to show it, for it deals with 
white-slave traffic, even though in a delicately guarded 
form. As a matter of fact, the facts dealt with lead one to 
believe that the story is a reenactment of the Luciano affair, 
in this city. There are some thrills, caused by the hero's 
placing his life in jeopardy while helping others. The direc- 
tion, acting, settings — all are up to a high standard : — 

Marian Marsh comes to New York in search of a dra- 
matic career; instead, she gets a job dancing at the Club 
Naturelle, a cabaret, really a veiled house of prostitution, 
conducted by Edward Raquello, who obtained his "host- 
esses" through fake employment agencies. Embittered by 
her experiences, she decides to quit, threatening to talk. 
The following morning her body is found floating in the 
river. Arlen, a noted newspaper columnist and radio com- 
mentator, blasts the police over the radio for their inability 
to find the murderers, and decides, on a dare by the police, 
to undertake the job himself. He finds a co-worker in the 
person of Rochelle Hudson, sister of the dead girl, who 
had come to him after hearing his broadcast. After many 
complications, in which he and those who worked with him 
had had thrilling experiences, and had risked their lives, 
Arlen succeeds in uncovering the ramifications or the gang 
and in bringing about their arrest. 

Michael L. Simmons and George Bricker wrote the 
original screen play, and C. C. Coleman, Jr., directed it. 

Quality, Class A (program) ; suitability, Class B for 
some theatres, but Class C for others. Tempo, pretty fast. 
Not for children, or adolescents, and not for Sunday 
showing. — 

"Fixer Dugan" with Lee Tracy, Virginia 
Weidler and Peggy Shannon 
(RKO, April 21 ; time, 68 min. ) 

A poor circus story, in which the most thrilling moments 
are when Virginia Weidler enters the lions' cage while 
Peggy Shannon was performing and Peggy has a "terrible" 
time backing up the lions so as to save Virginia's life, and 
when a lion is let out of the cage and again Peggy saves the 
life of Virginia. The remainder is trite and of hardly much 
interest. As for Lee Tracy, it seems as if he has seen his 
best days in this sort of stuff. Oh, yes, the sight of a tight- 
rope walker falling to her death might be called thrilling 
by some people ; but it is too gruesome to give one pleasure. 

Most of the action centers around Virginia Weidler, who 
is reared in the circus. When her mother falls off the tight 
wire and is killed, Lee Tracy and Peggy Shannon look 
after her. Some crooks, who had inveigled Peggy into 
signing a bill of sale for her lions when she thought she 
had been signing a promissory note for $200, try to take 
the lions away from her, but Tracy plays on them the same 
trick that they had played on Peggy, thus saving the lions. 
The authorities try to take Virginia away from the circus 
because she had been employed in an act, but eventually 
they let Peggy and Lee have her. 

The screen play was written by Bert Granet and Paul 
Vawitz. The picture was directed by Lew Landers, and 
was produced by Cliff Reid. 

Not good for Sunday showing. Children might like the 
circus stuff. Class B. 

"Panama Lady" with Lucille Ball 
and Allan Lane 

( KKO, May 12 ; time, 65 min.) 

A weak program melodrama. The story, in addition to 
being trite, is rather sordid, and the actions of the charac- 
ters are such as to set one against them. The hero is not 
appealing, for on more than one occasion he is shown 
attempting to induce the heroine to become intimate with 
him; as a matter of fact, his first appearance is a bad one, 
for he is shown drinking to excess. There is nothing of a 
pleasurable nature in the story ; almost every one displays 
base traits. The story is told in flashback : — 

Lucille Ball, a dancer in a Panama honky-tonk, is des- 
perate when the cafe owner (Evelyn Brent) tells her that 
she would have to dispense witli her services. Miss Ball 
was in love with Donald Briggs, an aviator, who had 
promised to marry her upon his return from a business 
trip; it was, therefore, necessary for her to stay in Panama. 
Miss Brent agrees to give her room and board if she would 
help her steal from Allan Lane, a customer, a large sum 
of money. Although she disliked doing it, she agrees; her 
part was to get Lane drunk. When Lane awakens and finds 



his money gone, he raves. Miss Ball agrees to go back to 
Lane's jungle home to work as his housekeeper. She leaves 
a note for Briggs, telling him where she was. Briggs, 
realizing that Miss Ball had found out about his gun- 
running business, decides to kill her. Miss Ball's arrival 
arouses the jealousy of Steffi Duna, a native girl who loved 
Lane. Lane's contempt for Miss Ball changes to love. 
Everyone is overjoyed when the gusher Lane had worked 
on comes in. Briggs arrives on the same day. Hearing about 
the gusher, he attempts to steal the written claim to it. Miss 
Ball points a gun at him and shoots ; he falls dead. Lane 
helps her escape. A year later he meets her in the city and 
tells her that he had discovered that Miss Duna had com- 
mitted the murder, Miss Ball's bullet having gone astray. 
She had done it in the hope that she could frighten Miss 
Ball away. Lane, now a wealthy man, asks her to marry 
him ; she accepts him. 

Garrett Fort wrote the story, and Michael Kanin, the 
screen play; Jack Hively directed it, and Cliff Reid pro- 
duced it. In the cast are Bernadene Hayes, Abner Biber- 
man, William Pawley, and others. 

Unsuitable for adolescents or children, or for Sunday 
showing. Adult fare. Class B. Tempo, slow. 

"Panama Patrol" with Leon Ames 
and Charlotte Wynters 

(Grand National, May 20 ; time, 68 min. ) 
This follow-up to "Cipher Bureau" is a pretty entertain- 
ing program melodrama with fairly good production values. 
The action is fast, and the story more plausible than that of 
the first picture. Again the plot revolves around the work- 
done by the Cipher Bureau of the Federal Bureau of Inves- 
tigation in Washington ; it shows the methods employed to 
decipher codes, and stresses the alertness and bravery of 
the men connected with this work. One is held in suspense 
because of the danger to hero and heroine. The romance is 
minimized : — 

Just as Leon Ames and Charlotte Wynters were pre- 
paring to get married, they are called back upon the urgent 
request of the government to decipher a code message. 
Since the code was in the Chinese language, Ames calls in 
his interpreter (Abner Biberman), little realizing that he- 
was at the head of the foreign spy ring. Through Biber- 
man, the spies are naturally able to learn of every move 
made by Ames and his men. On two occasions they trap 
Ames, but the alertness of his assistant ( Weldon Heyburn > 
saves his life. Miss Wynters, through a clue, suddenly 
realizes Biberman's position in the matter and goes to his 
house, where she confronts him with her suspicions. He 
admits everything and then forces her to accompany him 
to the hideout. Ames and his men decipher another code 
and thus find out where the hideout was ; they arrive in 
time to save Miss Wynters and to capture the spies. The 
work finished, Ames and Miss Wynters continue with their 
marriage plans. 

Arthur Hoerl wrote the original screen play, and Charles 
Lamont directed and produced it. In the cast are Adrienne 
Ames, Sidney Miller, John Stuart, Donald Barry, and 
others. 

Suitability, Class A. 

"Chasing Danger" with Preston Foster, 
Lynn Bari and Henry Wilcoxon 

(20th Century-Fox, May 12; time, 60 min.) 

One of those features that should form the second part 
of a double bill ; the box office would die a horrible death if 
it were to be shown as a single feature on the bill. Its chief 
characteristic is fast action — nothing much else. 

The hero (Preston Foster), ace man of a newsreel com- 
pany, meets Lynn Bari in a cheap cafe in Paris. Just as 
they were getting acquainted, his assistant, (Wally Ver- 
non) informs him that they had been assigned to cover a 
revolt in Morocco. At that very moment the police raid 
the cafe and arrest Miss Bari as the woman who was 
behind the Arab revolution, but the hero and his assistant 
enable her to escape. When, on the way to Morocco, the 
hero discovers that the boat was carrying machine guns 
and ammunition, he is thrown into the brig on orders of 
Miss Bari. But when they reach port he is able to obtain 
his freedom. In Morocco they have several escapades; they 
are arrested by the chief revolutionist when they try to 
photograph him. Eventually the hero discovers, and proves 
to the heroine, that the chief revolutionist was double- 
crossing her. He gets through a message to the French of 
their imprisonment. The French send planes and bombard 
the revolutionists. Thus hero and heroine are rescued. 

Leonardo Bercovici wrote the story, and Robert Ellis and 
Helen Logan, the screen play; Kicardo t'ortez directed it. 

Suitability, Class B. 



80 



HARRISON'S REPORTS 



May 20, 1939 



purchase of that land from the Russians. The hero goes 
with the idea of working for the English, but he changes 
his mind and works for the United States. A young woman, 
of Russian descent, has a great deal to do with his re- 
generation. 

Comment: There is fast action, human interest, and 
there are thrills. 

Forecast : the story should make a powerful melodrama, 
and with Clark Gable in the leading part it should do excel- 
lent business. 

"BALALAIKA," the play by Eric Maschwitz, an after- 
revoluticn drama of Russian aristocracy, with Nelson Eddy 
and Ilona Massey, with the action unfolding in the Bala- 
laika Cafe, in Montmarte (Paris), in which cafe the 
waiters were all Russian nobles. 

Comment : The story is not unusual, and the action is not 
exciting; but it is glamorous. The unhappy lovers win 
one's compassion. Perhaps MGM intends to make a musical 
out of it. If so, it should turn out either fairly good or good. 

"BEAU BRUMMEL," the stage play by Clyde Fitch, 
with Robert Donat as the star— a period drama, unfold- 
ing in London during the reign of King George III. The 
chief character is George Bryan Brummel, a handsome 
young man, whose attire set the fashion, and whose com- 
pany the best ladies in the land and the highest aristocrats, 
including the Prince of Wales, sought. The play, with Rich- 
ard Mansfield, made a great hit. A successful silent picture 
was made out of it by Paramount, with the late Rudolph 
Valentino in the leading part, with Sydney Olcott as the 
director. 

Comment : The story is glamorous and the action inter- 
esting. There is a chance for brilliant dialogue, and for 
magnificent settings. The value of the story material, how- 
ever, depends almost entirely upon the leading character. 

Forecast : With Robert Donat in the leading part, MGM 
should make a picture either very good or excellent in 
quality, and no doubt in box-office results, even though the 
silent version, with John Barryniore in the leading part, at 
that time very popular, "flopped." 

"DANCING CO-ED," a romantic comedy, with music 
and dancing against a college background. 

Comment : The action is pretty fast, and the romance is 
appealing, particularly to young folk. 

Forecast : It should make a good picture, its box-office 
results depending on the popularity of the leads. 

"FLORIAN," a novel by Felix Salten, a drama center- 
ing around the warm friendship between a stable boy 
(hero), a magnificent stallion, and a small dog, with 
Austria as the locale, and the Austrian court as part of 
the background, and with a noble girl as the heroine, 
brought together with the boy by his love for the horse. 

In the synopsis furnished by MGM, the dog dies, the 
hero is killed in the world war, and Florian, the horse, 
after many vicissitudes, finds peace at a farm. But the 
story has actually been altered : not only does the boy live, 
but he and the girl emigrate to America, where they find 
happiness. 

There is glamour in this story, and deep human sym- 
pathy. Who can fail to be moved by the close friendship 
of a man, a horse and a dog? The romance is naturally 
sympathy arousing. No one can fail to surround with love 
>uch a character as the noble Austrian girl falling in love 
with a commoner. 

The picture is to be produced for MGM by Winfield 
Sheehan, who made so many outstanding attractions when 
lie was a leading figure in the old Fox organization. It 
should turn out either very good or excellent in quality, 
with a box-office appeal depending on the popularity of 
the leads. 

"THE GREAT LAUGHTER," the Fannie Hurst novel, 
a drama in which a widow, by investing her money wisely, 
amasses a fortune, but has the ill-luck to see her son a 
criminal, and her grandchildren nonentities. 

Comment : With the exception of the mother-grand- 
mother, the characters are unpleasant. 

Forecast: Unless the characterizations as well as most 
of the situations are altered, the MGM efforts may be 
wasted in such story material. 

"GUNS AND FIDDLES," a romantic melodrama with 
music, with Robert Taylor and Hedy LaMarr as the stars. 
It is a light story, a sort of "Robinhood," mixing heroes, 
bandits, gypsies and music; it Unfolds in the days of very 
old Hungary. 



Comment : There is fast action, some human interest, a 
colorful background, and a chance for good music. 

Forecast : The picture will, no doubt, turn out good to 
very good in quality, but whether this- story suits well the 
stars for box-office results it is hard to tell. Taylor seems to 
be miscast in a story of this kind. 

"HOUSE OF GLASS," by Max M-arcin, a crook melo- 
drama involving an innocent young girl, with Joan Craw- 
ford. In it the heroine, a stenographer,, becomes engaged 
to a chauffeur, little realizing that he had stolen from 
his former employer valuable jewels. She is arrested along 
with him. Both receive a prison sentence. Soon she is 
paroled, and then breaks her parole, and marries another. 
But her past haunts her. Eventually her husband obtains 
a pardon for her. 

Comment : There is action throughout the entire story, 
and since a menace hangs over the heroine at all times one's 
interest never lags. The heroine's fate awakens one's sym- 
pathy. 

Forecast : It should make a good to very good melodrama 
of this type, with box-office possibilities in each locality, 
depending on Miss Crawford's drawing powers. 

"IT CAN'T HAPPEN HERE," the Sinclair Lewis 
novel, a fantastic political melodrama, in which it is shown 
that the United States goes fascist, and is ruled over by a 
dictator, with the hero and those who believed in his theory 
struggle to bring back democracy. 

Comment : This story, dealing with the horror and the 
brutalities of a dictatorship, is powerful. As a a matter of 
fact, it is so powerful that many of the book's readers get 
nightmares. Its moral is supposed to be to arouse Americans 
against the possibility of a dictatorship. 

Forecast : The picture should turn out very good in qual- 
ity, and the fame of the author, and the publicity the book 
has received, may offset the fact that it is a propaganda 
story, particularly if MGM should put popular actors in 
the lead. 

"IF I HAD A COMRADE," the story by Viscount 
Castlerose, a melodrama starting during the World War 
and developing in the period when the Nazis came into 
power, with the hero an ace German aviator, who becomes 
a pastor, and who, because of his preaching against Nazism, 
is sent to a concentration camp, where he develops tubercu- 
losis, is liberated and, after preaching a stirring sermon 
against Nazism, dies. There is also a good romance. 

Comment : Powerful material, the kind that should appeal 
not only to religious persons but to all laymen who love 
freedom. The hero's fighting for his ideals is stirring. 

Forecast : The picture should turn out good to very good 
in quality. 

"IF I LOVE YOU AGAIN," the story by Octavus Roy 
Cohen, with William Powell and Myrna Loy, a drama of 
loss of memory, with a murder involvement. 

Comment : There is interest all the way through, and a 
chance for considerable comedy. 

Forecast : With Myrna Loy and Wi-lliam Powell, the pic- 
ture should turn out very good, and should do very well at 
the box office. 

"JOURNEY'S END," the R. ; C: Sheriff play, with 
Robert Donat. It is a war drama, in which most of the 
action unfolds in a dugout, the English officers' quarters, 
situated just about one hundred yards away from the Ger- 
man dugout. The English are shown expecting an attack at 
any moment. It was produced in England and released in the 
United States in the summer of 1930. 

Comment : This is a powerful story ; it has no war scenes, 
but shows the tragedy of war as it affects the men person- 
ally. There are no light touches, and no romance. 

Forecast : A picture based on this story material will, no 
doubt, turn out to be powerful, but it is doubtful whether the 
public will accept it as an entertainment considering their 
present state of mind. This paper hopes that MGM will not 
produce it. 

"KIM," the Rudyard Kipling novel, an adventurous 
melodrama, with the British Army in India as the back- 
ground, and with Hindu mysticism dealt with. The chief 
character is a young English boy, whom a Hindu mystic 
had taken under his wing. 

Comment : There is considerable melodramatic action, 
and the interest is held well. 

Forecast : "Kim" should make a picture from good to 
very good in quality, with the box office possibilities de- 
pending on the leads. 



IN TWO SECTIONS— SECTION TWO 

HARRISON'S REPORTS 



Vol. XXI NEW YORK, N. Y., SATURDAY, MAY 20, 1939 No. 20 

(Partial Index No. 3 — Pages 54 to 76 Incl.) 



Title of Picture Reviewed on Page 

Back Door to Heaven — Paramount (85 min.) 67 

Big Town Czar — Universal (66 min.) 74 

Blind Alley — Columbia (70 min.) 74 

Boys' Reformatory — Monogram (61 min.) 75 

Broadway Serenade — MGM (112 min.) 63 

Bulldog Drummond's Secret Police — Paramount 

(54 min.) 58 

Calling Dr. Kildare— MGM (86 min.) 70 

Confessions of a Nazi Spy — First National (106m.) ... 71 

Dark Victory— First National (105 min.) 63 

Dodge City — Warner Bros. (103 min.) 62 

Drifting Westward — Monogram (49m.) . . . Not Reviewed 

East Side of Heaven — Universal (86 min.) 67 

Family Next Door, The — Universal (60 min.) 67 

First Offenders — Columbia (61 min.) 59 

For Love or Money — Universal (66J4 min.) 66 

Frontiers of '49 — Columbia (54i4m.) Not Reviewed 

Ghost Town Riders — Universal (54m.) Not Reviewed 

Hardys Ride High, The— MGM (80 min.) 67 

Home on the Prairie — Republic (59m.) Not Reviewed 

Honor of the West — Universal (58m.) Not Reviewed 

Housemaster — Associated British (84 min.) 63 

I'm From Missouri — Paramount (7&y 2 min.) 54 

It's a Wonderful World— MGM (85 min.) 75 

Jaurez — Warner Bros. (127 min.) 75 

Kid From Texas, The— MGM (70 min.) 66 

Lady and the Mob, The — Columbia (65 min.) 54 

Lady's From Kentucky, The — Paramount (76 min.) . . 70 

Long Shot — Grand National (68 min.) 62 

Lucky Night — MGM (82 min.) 71 

Magnificent Outcast — RKO (See "Almost 

a Gentleman") 51 

Man of Conquest — Republic (98 min.) 66 

Man's Heritage — Universal (See "Spirit of Culver") . . 39 

North of Shanghai — Columbia (58 min.) 55 

On Trial — Warner Bros. (61 min.) 58 

Phantom Stage, The — Universal (57m.) ... Not Reviewed 
Return of the Cisco Kid, The— 20th Century-Fox 

(71 min.) 67 

Romance of the Redwoods — Columbia (67 min.) 70 

Rookie Cop, The— RKO (60 min.) 75 

Rose of Washington Square — 20th Centurv-Fox 

(85 min.) 74 

Shine On Harvest Moon — Republic (57m.). Not Reviewed 

Society Lawyer — MGM (77 min.) 54 

Song of the Buckaroo — Monogram (56m.) .Not Reviewed 

Sorority House — RKO (64 min.) 66 

Story of Alexander Graham Bell, The— 20th Century- 
Fox (96y 2 min.) 58 

Story of Vernon and Irene Castle, The— RKO (92m) . 55 

Street of Missing Men — Republic (65 min.) 71 

Streets of New York — Monogram (72 min.) 59 

Sundown on the Prairie — Monogram (53m). Not Reviewed 

Sunset Trail — Paramount (68 min.) Not Reviewed 

Sweepstakes Winner — First National (59 min.) 71 

Terror of Tiny Town, The — Columbia 

(63 min.) Not Reviewed 

Texas Stampede— Columbia (57^ min.) ... Not Reviewed 

They Made Her a Spy— RKO (68 min.) 55 

Thundering West, The— Columbia (58m.) . Not Reviewed 
Torchy Runs for Mayor — Warner Bros. (59 min.) ... 74 

Union Pacific— Paramount (135 min.) 70 



Wild Horse Canyon — Monogram (50m.) .. Not Reviewed 

Winner Take All— 20th Century-Fox (62 min.) 54 

Women in the Wind — Warner Bros. (65 min.) 63 

Wuthering Heights — United Artists (97 min.) 59 

You Can't Get Away With Murder — First National 

(78 min.) 62 

Zenobia — United Artists (73 min.) 62 



RELEASE SCHEDULE FOR FEATURES 
Columbia Features 

(729 Seventh Ave., New York, N. Y.) 

9023 Whispering Enemies — J. Holt-D. Costello ..Mar. 24 
9019 Romance of the Redwoods — Bickford Mar. 24 

9205 North of the Yukon — Starrett (64 mm.) Mar. 30 

9013 The Lady and the Mob — Bainter-Lupino Apr. 3 

9030 First Offenders— Abel-Roberts Apr. 12 

9214 The Law Comes to Texas — Star west. (58m).Apr. 16 

9206 Spoilers of the Range (The Oklahoma Trail) 

— Charles Starrett (58 min.) Apr. 27 

9031 Outside These Walls— Costello-Whelan May 4 

Blind Alley — Morris-Belamy-Dvorak May 11 

9027 Missing Daughters — Arlen-Marsh May 22 

9001 Only Angels Have Wings — Grant- Arthur r..Mav25 

9024 Trapped in the Sky— Jack Holt June 1 

9207 Arizona Cowboy — Starrett June 8 

Q Planes — Olivier-Hobson June 15 

Parents on Trial— Parker-Downs June 22 

9208 The Man From Sundown — Starrett June 30 



First National Features 

(321 IV. 44th St., New York, N. Y.) 

354 Dark Victory — Davis-Brent-Fitzgerald Apr. 22 

364 You Can't Get Away With Murder — Bogart. .Apr. 29 
353 Confessions of a Nazi Spy — Robinson May 6 

373 Sweepstakes Winner — Wilson-Jenkins (re.) .May 20 

374 Code of the Secret Service — Reagan May 27 



Grand National Features 

(50 Rockefeller Plaza, New York, N. Y.) 
Wl-2 Ride 'Em Cowgirl— Dorothy Page (52m.) . Jan. 20 
Wl-19 Six-Gun Rhythm— Tex Fletcher (57m.) .. May 13 

314 Panama Patrol — Ames-Wynters May 20 

301 Exile Express — Anna Sten-A. Marshal May 27 

Wl-3 The Singing Cowgirl — D. Page (57m.) May 31 



Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Features 

(1540 Broadway, New York, N. Y.) 
925 The Ice Follies of 1939— Crawford . . . . : Mar. 10 

928 Within the Law— Hussey-Neal-Kelly Mar. 17 

927 Sergeant Madden — Beery-Curtis-Brown Mar. 24 

930 Society Lawyer — Bruce-Pidgeon Mar. 31 

931 Broadway Serenade — MacDonald-Ayres Apr. 7 

929 The Kid From Texas— O'Keefe-Rice (re.)... Apr. 14 

934 The Hardys Ride High— Stone-Kooney (re.). Apr. 21 

932 Calling Dr. Kildare — L. Barrymore (re.) ....Apr. 28 

933 Lucky Night— Taylor-Loy (re.) May 5 

935 Tell No Tales — (A Hundred to One Shot) — 

Douglas-Platt May 12 

936 It's a Wonderful World— Colbert-Stewart ...May 19 

937 Bridal Suite— Young-Annabella May 26 

No release for June 6 

6000 Enemies — Pidgcon-Johnson June 9 

Tarzan — Weissmuller-O'Sullivan June 16 

Maisie Was a Lady — Sothcrn-Young June 23 

Stronger Than Desire — Bruce-Pidgeon June 30 



Monogram Features 

(1270 Sixth Ave., New York, N. Y.) 

3863 Rollin' Westward— Tex Ritter (51 min.) .. .Mar. 1 
3809 Mystery Plane— Trent-Young Mar. 8 

3854 Trigger Smith— Randall (51 min.) Mar. 22 

3824 Undercover Agent — Gleason-Deane (56m.).. Apr. 5 

3802 Streets of New York— Cooper-Spellman Apr. 12 

3829 Wanted by Scotland Yard— J. Stephenson ..Apr. 19 

Boys' Reformatory — Frankie Darro May 1 

3864 Down the Wyoming Trail ( Man From 

Texas)— Tex Ritter (reset) May 18 

Wolf Call— Movita-J. Carroll (reset) May 18 

3855 Across the Plains (Riders of the Rio Grande) 

—Randall (reset) June 1 

Girl from Nowhere — Nagel-Hull June 10 

Stunt Pilot — John Trent June 29 

3865 Roll, Wagon, Roll— Tex Ritter June 29 



Paramount Features 

(1501 Broadway, New York, N. Y.) 

3834 The Lady's From Kentucky— Raft-Drew ...Apr. 28 

3835 Union Pacific — Stanwyck-McCrea May 5 

3836 Hotel Imperial — Miranda-Milland (reset) .. .May 12 

3837 Some Like It Hot— Hope-Ross-Krupa (re.). May 19 

3838 Unmarried — Joncs-Twelvetrees (66 min.) . . . May 26 
3864 Stolen Life — Bergner-Redgrave May 26 

3839 Gracie Allen Murder Case — Allen-William. .June 2 

3840 Undercover Doctor — Nolan-Naish-Logan ...June 9 

3841 Invitation to Happiness — Dunne-MacMurray.June 16 

3842 Grand Jury Secrets — Howard-Frawley June 23 

3843 Heritage of the Desert — Woods-Barrat June 23 

Island of Lost Men — Wong-Naish-Blore ...June 30 



Republic Features 

(1776 Broadway, New York, N. Y.) 

865 The Night Riders— Three Mesq. (57 min.) ..Apr. 12 

854 Frontier Pony Express — Rogers (58 min.) ..Apr. 20 

811 Street of Missing Men — Biekford-Ryan Apr. 28 

844 Blue Montana Skies — Autry (56 min. ) May 4 

866 Three Texas Steers — Three Mesq. (56 min.). May 12 
801 Man of Conquest — Dix-Patrick-Morgan May 15 

855 Southward Ho — Rogers (58 min.) May 18 



RKO Features 

(1270 Sixth Ave., New York, N. Y.) 

1937- 38 Season 

838 Story of Vernon and Irene Castle — Ginger 

Rogers-Fred Astaire Apr. 28 

(End of 1937-38 Season) 

1938- 39 Season 

921 They Made Her a Spy — Eilers-Lane Apr. 14 

922 Fixer Dugan — L. Tracy- Weidler Apr. 21 

923 The Rookie Cop— Holt- Weidler Apr. 28 

924 Sorority House— Shirley-Ellison May 5 

925 Panama Lady — Ball-Lane May 12 



Twentieth Century-Fox Features 

(444 IV. 56th St., New York, N. Y.) 

945 Inspector Hornleigh — Harker-Sim (76m.) ...Apr. 21 

940 Return of the Cisco Kid— Baxter-Bari Apr. 28 

8012 Climbing High— Matthews-Redgrave (71m.).Apr. 28 

941 Chasing Danger — Foster-Bari- Vernon May 5 

942 Rose of Washington Square — Power-Faye ...May 12 

943 Boy Friend (Police School) — Withers May 19 

944 The Gorilla — Ritz Bros.-Louise-Norris May 26 

946 The Jones Family in Hollywood — Prouty . . . .June 2 

947 Young Mr. Lincoln — Fonda-Brady-Weaver ..June 9 

948 Charlie Chan in Reno — Toler-Cortez June 16 

951 The Girl from Brooklyn — Faye-Baxter June 23 

950 It Could Happen to You — Stuart-Erwin June 30 

952 Mr. Moto Takes a Vacation — Lorre-Fiekl . . . .July 7 



United Artists Features 

(729 Seventh Ave., New York, N. Y.) 

Made For Each Other — Lomhard-J. Stewart Feb. 10 

King of the Turf— Menjou-D. Costello-Abel Feb. 17 

Stagecoach — Trevor- Wayne-Devine-Carradine . . . Mar. 3 

Prison Without Bars — Edna Best Mar. 10 

Wuthering Heights — Oberon-Olivier-Niven Apr. 7 

Zenobia — Hardy-Burke- Langdon-Brady Apr. 21 

Captain Fury — McLaglen-Aherne-Lang (reset) ..May 26 



Universal Features 

(1250 Sixth Ave., New York, N. Y.) 
A3001 Three Smart Girls Grow Up — Durbin . . . .Mar. 24 
A3020 The Family Next Door — Herbert-Hodges. Mar. 31 

A3006 East Side of Heaven — Crosby-Blondell Apr. 7 

A3019 Code of the Streets — Carey (reset) Apr. 14 

A3018 Big Town Czar — MacLane-Brown-Arden. .Apr. 21 

For Love or Money — Lang-Kent Apr. 28 

Ex Champ — McLaglen-Brown May 19 

The Sun Never Sets — Fairbanks, Jr May 26 

Inside Information — Lang-Foran June 2 

They Asked for It — Whalen-Hodges June 9 

House of Fear — Gargan-Hervey June 30 



("Hawaiian Holiday" listed in the last Index as a May 18 
release has been postponed to July 21) 



Warner Bros. Features 

(321 W. 44th St., New York, N. Y.) 

321 The Adventures of Jane Arden — Towne Mar. 18 

323 On Trial — Lindsay-Litel-Norris Apr. 1 

304 Dodge City — Flynn-deHavilland-Sheridan ...Apr. 8 
316 Women in the Wind — Francis-Gargan-Jory ..Apr. 15 

322 Torchy Runs for Mayor — Farrell May 13 



SHORT SUBJECT RELEASE SCHEDULE 

Columbia — One Reel 

9854 Screen Snapshots No. 4— (9^m.) Dec. 15 

9505 The Kangaroo Kid — Color Rhapsody (7 l / 2 m.) Dec. 23 
98U3 King Vulture— Sport Thrills (10^m.) Dec. 23 

9654 Community Sing No. 4 — (lO^m.) Dec. 30 

9855 Screen Snapshots No. 5 — (9m.) Jan. 6 

9753 Scrappy's Added Attraction — Scrappys 

(b l / 2 min.) Jan. 13 

9961 A Night in a Music Hall— Music Hall 

Vanities (11 min.) Jan. 20 

9506 Peaceful Neighbors— Color Rhap. (8m.) ....Jan. 26 

9804 Odd Sports— Sport Thrills (9 l / 2 m.) Jan. 27 

9704 Krazy's Bear Tale— Krazy Kat (7 l / 2 m.) ....Jan. 27 

9655 Community Sing No. 5 — (9 l / 2 m.) Jan. 27 

9553 Big Town Commuters — Tours (9m.) Feb. 3 

9856 Screen Snaphots No. 6— (10m.) Feb. 17 

9902 Washington Parade— Issue $2 (11m.) (re.). Feb. 21 

9656 Community Sing No. 6 — (10>^m.) Feb. 24 

9962 A Night at the Troc— Vanities (10^m.) Mar. 2 

9754 Scrappy's Side Show — Scrappys (6^m.) ...Mar. 3 

9857 Screen Snapshots No. 7 — (9>4xn.). Mar. 17 

9805 Navy Champions — Sport Thrills (9^m.) ...Mar. 17 

9657 Community Sing No. 7 — (10^m.) Mar. 24 

9508 Happy Tots— Color Rhapsody- (S^m.) Mar. 31 

9705 Golf Chumps— Krazy Kat (6^m.) Apr. 6 

9858 Screen Snapshots No. 8— (9^m.) Apr. 8 

9509 The House That Jack Built— Col. Rh. (7m.). Apr. 14 

9806 Diving Rhythm— Sport Thrills Apr. 21 

9658 Community Sing No. 8— (10^m.) Apr. 21 

9755 A W'orm's Eye View — Scrappys (7m.) Apr. 28 

9903 Washington Parade — Issue #3 (reset) May 12 

9706 Krazy's Shoe Shop — Krazy Kat May 12 

9859 Screen Snapshots No. 9— (9^m.) May 12 

9659 Community Sing No. 9 May 19 

9963 Yankee Doodle Home — Vanities May 19 

9510 Lucky Pigs — Color Rhapsody May 26 

9660 Community Sing No. 10 June 16 



9184 
9405 
9185 
9186 
9430 
9187 
9188 
9431 
9189 
9190 
9406 
9191 
9192 
9432 
9193 
9194 
9433 
9195 
9141 

9142 
9407 
9434 



Columbia — Two Reels 

The Falcon Strikes— G-Men 84 (16^m.) . . .Feb. 18 
We Want Our Mummy — Stooges (16^m.) . .Feb. 24 

Flight from Death— G-Men $5 (19m.) Feb. 25 

Phantom of the Sky — G-Men #6 (\9 l / 2 m.) ..Mar. 4 
The Sap Takes a Rap — All star com. (16m.) .Mar. 10 

Trapped by Radio — G-Men $7 (\$y 2 m.) Mar. 11 

Midnight Watch— G-Men 88 (16^m.) Mar. 18 

Boom Goes the Groom — All star com. (17m.). Mar. 24 

Wings of Death— G-Men 89 (18m.) Mar. 25 

Flaming Wreckage — G-Men 810 ( 17 s / 2 m.) ..Apr. 1 
A Ducking They Did Go — Stooges (16m.) . .Apr. 7 
While a Nation Sleeps— G-Men 311 (17m.) . . Apr. 8 

Sealed Orders— G-Men 812 (16Hm.) Apr. 15 

A Star Is Shorn— All star (17m.) Apr. 21 

Flame Island— G-Men 813 (17m.) Apr. 22 

Jaws of Death— G-Men 814 (W/ 2 m.) Apr.29 

The Chump Takes a Bump — All star (18m.) .May 5 
The Falcon's Reward — G-Men 815 (13m.) ..May 6 
Shadow on the Wall — Mandrake the 

Magician 81 (30 min.) May 6 

Trap of the Wasp — Mandrake 82 May 13 

Yes, We Have Bananas — Stooges (16m.) . . .May 19 
Now It Can Be Sold— All star (16}4m.) . . . June 2 



Metro-Gold wyn-Mayer — One Reel 

K-923 The Story of Alfred Nobel- 
Passing Parade (11 min.) Feb. 18 

C-936 Tiny Troubles— Our Gang (10m.) Feb. 18 

W-883 Jitterbug Follies— Cartoons (9m.) Feb. 25 

S-906 Marine Circus— Pete Smith (tech.) (9m.). Mar. 11 
C-937 Duel Personalities — Our Gang (10m.) ....Mar. 11 

W-884 Wanted No Master — Cartoons (8m.) Mar. 18 

F-955 An Hour for Lunch— Benchley (9m.) ....Mar. 18 
K-924 Story of Dr. Jenner— Pass. Par. (10m.) . . .Mar. 18 

T-858 Java Journey — Traveltalks (8m.) Mar. 18 

M-877 Love on Tap— Miniatures (11m.) Mar. 18 

S-907 Weather Wizards— Pete Smith (9m.) Apr. 8 

C-938 Clown Princes — Our Gang (10m.) Apr. 15 

W-885 The Little Goldfish— Cartoons 8m.) Apr. 15 

T-859 Glimpses of Australia — Travel. (9m.) Apr. 15 

T-860 Rural Hungary— Traveltalks (9m.) Apr.29 

C-939 Cousin Wilbur— Our Gang (10m.) Apr.29 

T-861 Picturesque Udaipur — Traveltalks (8m.) ..May 13 

F-956 Dark Magic — Robert Benchley May 13 

W-886 The Art Gallery— Cartoons May 13 

M-878 Hollywood Hobbies — Miniatures (10m.) ..May 13 

Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer — Two Reels 

R-804 Somewhat Secret — Musicals (21m.) Mar. 25 

R-805 Happily Buried— Musicals (20m.) Apr. 15 

P-813 While America Sleeps — Crime Doesn't Pay 

(21 min.) Apr. 15 



Paramount — One Reel 

T8-7 So Does an Automobile — Boop (6m.) Mar. 31 

A8-9 Three Kings and a Queen— Head. (10^m.) . Apr. 7 

P8-9 Paramount Pictorial 89— (9y 2 m.) Apr. 7 

V8-9 Fisherman's Pluck — Paragraphic (9m.) ....Apr. 14 

R8-10 Good Skates— Sportlight (9m.) Apr. 14 

L8-5 Unusual Occupations 85 — (10m.) Apr. 14 

C8-4 Small Fry — Color Classic (8m.) Apr. 21 

E8-7 Leave Well Enough Alone — Popeye (5^m.).Apr. 28 
A8-10 Paramount Presents Hoagy Carmichael — 

Headlincr (9]/ 2 min.) ,. May 5 

P8-10 Paramount Pictorial 810— (10m.) Mav 5 

R8-11 Diamond Dust— Sportlight (9m.) May 12 

T8-8 Musical Mountaineers — Boop (6m.) May 12 

J 8-5 Popular Science 85 May 12 

V8-10 Swans — Paragraphic (9m.) May 19 

E8-8 Wotta Nitcmare— Popeye (7m.) May 19 

K8-6 Jamaica — Color Cruises (9m.) May 26 

A8-11 Tempo of Tomorrow — Headlincr June 2 

P8-11 Paramount Pictorial 311 June 2 

R8-12 Watch Your Step— Sportlight June 9 

T8-9 The Scared Crows — Hoop cartoon June 9 



94060 
94207 
94307 
94109 
94607 
94110 
94208 
94308 
94608 
94111 
94209 
94309 
94112 
94609 
94210 
94310 
94113 



93107 
93603 
93704 
93108 
93403 
93503 
93109 
93203 
93705 
93110 
93405 



RKO — -One Reel 

Gold— Reelism (9m.) Feb. 10 

Readin' Ritin' and Rhythm— NuAtlas (lOm.)Feb. 17 

Snow Falls — Sportscope (9m.) Feb. 24 

Practical Pig — Disney (8m.) .Feb. 24 

Air Waves— Reelism (10m.) Mar. 10 

Goofy and Wilbur — Disney cart. (8m.) Mar. 17 

Samovar Serenade — Musical (10m.) Mar. 17 

Sporting Wings — Sportscope (9m.) Mar. 24 

Soldiers of the Sea — Reelism (9m.) Apr. 7 

The Ugly Duckling — Disney cart. (9m.) . . .Apr. 7 

Hello Mama — NuAtlas (11m.) Apr. 14 

Big Leaguers — Sportscope (9m.) Apr. 21 

Hockey Champ — Disney cartoon (7m.) . . . .Apr. 28 

Television — Reelism (9m.) May 5 

Arcade Varieties — NuAtlas (11m.) May 12 

Smooth Approach — Sportscope (9m.) May 19 

Donald's Cousin Gus — Disney (7m.) May 19 

RKO — Two Reels 

March of Time— (19m.) Feb. 17 

Swing Vacation — Headliner (19m.) Feb. 24 

Home Boner — Leon Errol — (20m.) Mar. 10 

March of Time— (18m.) Mar. 17 

ClockWise — Edgar Kennedy (16m.) Mar. 24 

Ranch House Romeo — Ray Whitley (17m.). Apr. 7 

March of Time— (19m.) Apr. 14 

Dog Gone — Radio Flash (16^m.) Apr. 21 

Moving Vanities — Leon Errol (17m.) :May 5 

March of Time May 12 

Baby Daze— E. Kennedy (15m.) May 19 



Twentieth Century-Fox — One Reel 

9303 Hunting Dogs— Sports (10j4m.) Mar. 3 

9510 Gandy Goose in G-Man Jitters — 

Terry-Toon (6% min.) Mar. 10 

9105 Mystic Siam— Lowell Thomas (10m.) Mar. 17 

9527 The Nutty Network— Terry-Toon (6^m.) . Mar. 24 
9603 Fashion Forecasts No. 3— (9^m.) Mar. 31 

9511 The Cuckoo Bird— Terry-Toon (6 ! / 2 m.) ....Apr. 7 
9404 Muscle Maulers— Lew Lehr (10^m.) Apr. 14 

9512 Their Last Bean— Terry-Toon (6}^m.) Apr. 21 

9304 Inside Baseball— Sports (10K>m.) (re.) ....Apr. 28 

9528 Barnyard Egg-Citement — Terry-Toon May 5 

9205 Sand Hogs — Adv. News Cameraman May 12 

9513 Nick's Coffee Pot— Terry-Toon (6^m.) . . . . May 19 

9106 Good Neighbors — Lowell Thomas (reset) ..May 26 

9514 The Prize Guest — Terry-Toon June 2 

9107 Tempest Over Tunis — Lowell Thomas June 9 

9515 Gandy Goose in a Bully Romance — T.-Toon June 16 

9305 Sports Immortals — Sports June 23 

9516 Africa Squawks — Terry-Toon June 30 



A3358 
A3250 
A3371 
A3359 
A3251 
A3252 
A3372 
A3253 
A3360 
A3254 
A3373 
A3255 
A3361 
A3374 



Universal — One Reel 

Going Places With Thomas 860— (10m.) . .Feb. 20 
Birth of a Toothpick — Lantz cart. (7y 2 m.) .Feb. 27 

Stranger Than Fiction 860— (9m.) Mar. 6 

Going Places With Thomas 861— (9m.) . . .Mar. 13 

Little Tough Mice — Lantz cart. (7m.) Mar. 13 

One Armed Bandit — Lantz cart. (7m.) Mar. 27 

Stranger Than Fiction 361 — (9m.) .......Apr. 3 

Crack Pot Cruise — Lantz cart. (6'/>m.) . . . Apr. 10 
Going Places With Thomas 862— (9m.) . . .Apr. 10 

Charlie Cuckoo — Lantz cart. (7m.) Apr. 24 

Stranger Than Fiction 862 — (9m.) May 1 

Nellie of the Circus — Lantz cart. (7m.) ...May 8 
Going Places With Thomas 863— (9^m.) . May 15 
Stranger Than Fiction 8(>3 — (9m.) June 5 



A3884 
A3885 
A3886 

A3230 
A3887 
A3388 
A3889 
A3890 
A3231 



Universal — Two Reels 

The Sky Patrol— Rogers U (20m.) May 2 

The Phantom Plane — Rogers 85 (20m.) ..May 9 
The Unknown Command — Rogers 86 

(19 min.) May 16 

Pharmacy Frolics — Mentone (18^m.) . . . .May 17 
Primitive Command — Rogers 87 ( 19m.) . . . May 23 
Revolt of the Zuggs — Rogers #8 (19m.) . . .May 30 
Bodies Without Minds — Rogers #9 (19m.) .June 6 

Broken Barriers — Rogers #10 (18m.) June 13 

Swing Sanatorium — Mentone (18m.) June 14 



NEWS WEEKLY 
NEW YORK 
RELEASE DATES 



Vitaphone — One Reel 

4506 Daffy Duck in Hollywood— Mer. Mel. (8m.) .Dec. 3 

4705 Happy Felton & Orch.— Mel. Mast. (10m.).. Dec. 3 

4304 Treacherous Waters — True Adv. (10m.) Dec. 10 

4904 Robbin' Good— Vit. Varieties (10m.) Dec. 10 

4805 Porky the Gob— Looney Tunes (8m.) Dec. 17 

4507 Count Me Out — Merrie Melodies (7m.) Dec. 17 

4706 Dave Apollon & Orch.— Mel. Mast. (11m.) . .Dec. 24 

4508 The Mice Will Play— Mer. Mel. (7m.) Dec. 31 

4605 Mechanix Illustrated #2— Col. Par. (10m.) ..Jan. 7 

4305 Human Bomb — True Adv. (11m.) Jan. 7 

4707 Clyde Lucas & Orch.— Mel. Mast. (10m.) ...Jan. 7 

4806 The Lone Stranger & Porky — L. Tunes (7m.).Jan. 7 

4509 Doggone Modern — Mer. Mel. (7m.) Jan. 14 

4905 Ski Girl— Varieties (8m.) Jan. 14 

4708 Blue Barron & Orch.— Mel. Mast. (8m.) . . . Jan. 21 

4510 Ham-ateur Night— Mer. Mel. (8m.) Jan. 28 

4807 It's an 111 Wind— L. Tunes (7m.) Jan. 28 

4606 Points on Pointers — Color Par. (9m.) Jan. 28 

4709 Jerry Livingston & Orch.— Mel. M. (10m.).. Feb. 4 

4511 Kobinhood Makes Good — Mer. Mel. (8m.) ..Feb. 11 

4306 High Peril— True Adv. (9m.) (re.) Feb. 18 

4808 Porky 's Tire Trouble— L. Tunes (7m.) Feb. 18 

4906 Gadgeteers— Varieties (11m.) Feb. 18 

4607 Mechanix Illustrated 83— Color Par. (10m.) .Feb. 25 

4512 Goldrush Daze — Mer. Mel. (7m.) Feb 25 

4710 Russ Morgan & Orch.— Mel. Mast. (9m.) ...Feb. 25 

4307 A Minute From Death— True Adv. (11m.) . .Mar. 4 
4403 The Master's Touch— Tech. Spec. (9m.) ...Mar. 11 

4513 A Day at the Zoo— Mer. Mel. (8m.) Mar. 11 

4809 Porky 's Movie Mystery — L. Tunes (7m.) ..Mar. 11 

4907 Tax Trouble— Varieties (11m.) Mar. 18 

4712 Clyde McCoy & Orch.— Mel. Mast. (9m.) ..Mar. 18 

4608 The Roaming Camera — Color Par. (9m.) . . .Mar. 25 

4514 Prest-o Change-o — Mer. Mel. (7m.) Mar. 25 

4308 Chained — True Adventure (11m.) Apr. 1 

4810 Chicken Jitters — Looney Tunes (6^m.) ....Apr. 1 

4515 Bars and Stripes Forever — Mer. Mel. (8m.). Apr. 8 

4711 Dave Apollon & Orch.— Mel. Mast. (10m.).. Apr. 8 

4909 The Crawfords 'At Home"— Varieties 

(11 min.) Apr. 15 

4811 Porky and Teabiscuit — L. Tunes (7j^m.) ...Apr. 22 

4516 Daffv Duck & Dinosaur— Mer. Mel. (8m.) ..Apr. 22 

4609 Mechanix Illustrated 84— (10m.) Apr. 22 

4713 Artie Shaw & Orch.— Mel. Mast. (10m.) . . . .Apr. 29 

4309 Voodoo Fire — True Adventures (12m.) Mav 6 

4517 Thugs With Dirty Mugs— Mer. Mel. (8m.) .May 6 

4812 Kristopher Kolumbus, Jr.' — L. Tunes (7m.) . .May 13 

4610 For Your Convenience — Col. Par. (9m.) May 20 

4714 Larry Clinton & Orch.— Mel. Mast. (9m.) ..May 20 

4518 Hobo Gadget Band— Mer. Mel May 27 

4910 Dean of the Pasteboards — Varieties ( 10m. ) . . May 27 
(4908 "The Right Way" listed in the last Index as an April 
15 release has been postponed) 

Vitaphone — Two Reels 

4020 Sundae Serenade — Bway. Brev. (17m.) Feb. 25 

4022 Projection Room — Bway. Brev. (19m.) Mar. 4 

4023 Home Cheap Home— Bway. Brev. (18m.) . . .Mar. 18 

4024 A Fat Chance— Bway. Brev. (18m.) Mar. 25 

4025 Rollin in Rhythm— Bway. Brev. (18m.) ....Apr. 15 
4005 Sons of Liberty— Technicolor (21m.) Apr. 22 

4026 Seeing Spots— Bway. Brev. (18m.) Apr. 29 

4027 You're Next-To Closing— Brev. (18m.) ....May 13 



Universal 



771 Wednesday 

772 Saturday . . 

773 Wednesday 

774 Saturday . . 

775 Wednesday 

776 Saturday . . 

777 Wednesday 

778 Saturday .. 

779 Wednesday 

780 Saturday .. 

781 Wednesday 

782 Saturday .. 

783 Wednesday 



.May 17 
. May 20 
. May 24 
.May 27 
.May 31 
.June 3 
. J une 7 
June 10 
June 14 
June 17 
. J une 2 1 
. J une 24 
June 28 



Fox Movietone 

71 Wednesday . . .May 17 

72 Saturday May 20 

73 Wednesday . . . May 24 

74 Saturday May 27 

75 Wednesday ...May 31 

76 Saturday June 3 

77 Wednesday ...June 7 

78 Saturday June 10 

79 Wednesday . . June 14 

80 Saturday J une 17 

81 Wednesday . . June 21 

82 Saturday June 24 

83 Wednesday ...June 28 



Paramount News 

82 Wednesday . . .May 17 

83 Saturday May 20 

84 W ednesday . . . May 24 

85 Saturday May 27 

86 Wednesday ...May 31 

87 Saturday June 3 

88 Wednesday ...June 7 

89 Saturday June 10 

90 Wednesday . . June 14 

91 Saturday June 17 

92 Wednesday ...J une 21 

93 Saturday June 24 

94 Wednesday ...J une 28 



Metrotone 

269 Wednesday 

270 Saturday . 

271 Wednesday 

272 Saturday . 

273 Wednesday 

274 Saturday . 

275 Wednesday 

276 Saturday . , 

277 Wednesday 

278 Saturday . 

279 Wednesday 

280 Saturday .. 

281 Wednesday 



News 

..May 17 
. . May 20 
. . May 24 
..May 27 
..May 31 
..June 3 
..June 7 
. June 10 
. June 14 
. June 17 
. June 21 
. June 24 
..June 28 



Pathe News 

95286 Wed. (E.). May 17 
95187 Sat. (O.).. May 20 
95288 Wed. (E.) .May 24 
95189 Sat. (O.).. May 27 
95290 Wed. (E.). May 31 
95191 Sat. (O.).June 3 
95292 Wed. (E.) June 7 
95193 Sat. (O.). June 10 
95294 Wed. (E.).June 14 
95195 Sat. (O.).June 17 
95296 Wed. (E.) June 21 
95197 Sat. (O.).. J une 24 
95298 Wed. (E.) June 28 



Entered as second-class matter January 4, 1921, at the post omc« at New York, New York, under the act of March 3, 1*79. 

Harrison's Reports 

Yearly Subscription Rates: 1270 SIXTH AVENUE Published Weekly by 

United States J1S.00 p__ 1 Ol O Harrison's Reports, Inc., 

U. S. Insular Possessions. 16.59 KOOm 1SU Publisher 

p inada 16 50 New York, N. Y. p. s. Harrison, Editor 

Mexico, Cuba, Spain 16.50 . „ _ ^ _ , 

Great Britain 15 W ^ Motion Picture Reviewing Service 

Australia, New Zealand, Devoted Chiefly to the Interests of the Exhibitors Established July 1, 1919 

India, Europe, Asia .... 17.50 

35c a Cony Its Editorial Policy: No Problem Too Big for Its Editorial Circle 7-4622 

Columns, if It is to Benefit the Exhibitor. 

A REVIEWING SERVICE FREE FROM THE INFLUENCE OF FILM ADVERTISING 

Vol. XXI SATURDAY, MAY 27, 1939 No. 21 



DEMAND AS FAIR A TREATMENT AS 
EXHIBITORS OF OTHER TERRITORIES 
ARE RECEIVING! 

As a result of my comment on Variety's report about the 
distributors' decision to charge to the exhibitors live-and- 
let-iive prices the coming season, which report was cor- 
roborated by a letter from Mr. Steffes printed in the fol- 
lowing week's issue of this paper (May 1.5), I have re- 
ceived from some exhibitors letters informing me tiiat the 
salesmen of their territories are asking even bigger prices 
for next season's product than they asked last summer for 
the current season's. 

I am not surprised that they are asking such prices. It 
has never been known for all the sales forces of a company 
to obey home office instructions to the letter ; some of them 
always try to disregard them, their sole object being to 
show bigger sales if possible, regardless whether the ex- 
hibitors can or cannot stay in business. 

Let me cite an illustration that will bring this tendency 
out more vividly : You know that some of the companies 
have decided to adopt the trade practices code at once in- 
stead ot waiting for its ratification by the exhibitors ; 
and they have issued instructions accordingly. What do 
you think has happened!'' In some zones these instructions 
have been disregarded : In the matter of cancellations, the 
salesmen of the same companies have told the exhibitors 
that their film bill will be increased twenty per cent this 
year in order that they may pay for film the same amount 
of money after cancelling 20% of the pictures the)- had con- 
tracted for as they paid last year. In the matter of no play- 
date designation on pictures with a minimum guarantee, the 
exhibitors have been told that the distributors will either 
refrain from asking a minimum guarantee on pictures they 
designate on Saturdays and Sundays, or will increase the 
number of percentage pictures. In the matter of score 
charges, they will add the usual amount to the film rental. 

Do you blame the exhibitors for having lost faith in the 
distributors ? 

I am calling your attention to such a disregard of home 
office instructions with the object of encouraging you to 
demand that you receive the same treatment as the exhibi- 
tors in other territories. Not only should you obtain your 
next season's film at lower prices than you paid for this 
season's product, but you should also demand a reduction 
in the price of whatever pictures you are still to play out 
uf this season's product. You are entitled to a reduction, 
for business conditions just now are "terrible." The drop 
in business from last season's level is no less than 30%, 
and, in some cases, as high as 60%, And there is hardly 
any hope of immediate improvement. Authority for this 
statement is none other than Mr. Joseph M. Schenck him- 
self, chairman of the board of directors of Twentieth 
Century-Fox ; he was quoted in the May 10 issue of the 
Film Daily as follows : 

"Schenck foresees no immediate return to 'good' theatre 
business throughout the country until world conditions be- 
come more settled, although he expects a general improve- 
ment this year, due to the quality of the forthcoming Holly- 
wood product." 

In other words, this optimistic improvement of theatre 
business will, since the world conditions arc still bad anil no 
one knows how much worse they may become, depend 
entirely on the quality of the pictures that I lolls wood will 
produce; and, if what Hollywood has shown us since Janu- 
ary is any criterion, there will be no improvement, for I have 
never in my career seen worse pictures. Hollywood seems to 
have lost the "knack" of making good pictures. 



It seems to me as if the picture business has reached the 
low level of the expiring days of the silent pictures in 1926 
and 1927. At that lime, the industry was saved by the mir- 
acle of the talking pictures. W hat miracle can save the 
industry now? Not even good pictures can do much to help 
it, for at this time there are so many more divertissements 
than there were in 1927 ! Radio has made a marvellous 
progress since that time ; a person can sit in the comforts 
of his home and listen to fine programs, the choice of his 
desire, at no cost to him. And there are many others. 

The industry must do many things besides producing 
meritorious pictures to recapture public patronage. These 
will be discussed in a forthcoming issue. In the meantime, 
demand that, in the matter of obtaining film, ycu be given 
as fair a treatment as the exhibitors of other territories ; 
or, better yet, refrain from buying until after the Allied 
convention, for in Minneapolis you will receive enough 
information to enable you to determine what your film 
purchasing policy for the 1939-40 season should be. 



WHY CAN'T THE DISTRIBUTORS 
BE CONSISTENT? 

From the day there appeared to be a gulf between the 
distributors and Allied on what concessions the distributors 
should grant to the exhibitors, the distributors let it be 
known, through the trade press, that they would put the 
reforms in force "with or without the consent of the Allied 
leaders." But now they seem to have changed their mind. 

According to the May 15 issue of Motion Picture Daily, 
the trade pact is beset with obstacles ; the arbitration set up 
seems to be the stumbling block. The following is part of 
what that paper says : 

"A canvass of distribution companies late last week re- 
vealed considerable indecision among sales executives as to 
whether or not they would be willing to put the other 
phases of the trade program into effect by incorporating 
th em in exhibition contracts in the event the arbitration 
efforts failed to produce results." 

What really underlies their change of mind is their un- 
willingness to grant the 20% cancellation right; they feel 
that, under such a provision, their profits will vanish. 

The distributors have become so set with the idea that 
the elimination of block-booking will prove injurious to 
their interests that they see ghosts. 



ALLIED CONVENTION CREATING 
EXCITEMENT 

As the date set for the Allied convention in Minneapolis 
is approaching, the interest of the entire motion picture 
industry to it is heightened. This is evidenced by the num- 
ber of hotel reservations that have already been made. Mr. 
Steffes reports that every room in the Nicollet Hotel has 
been taken, and reservations are now made in other of the 
best hotels in that city. 

If you have not yet made your reservations, wire to Mr. 
W. A. Steffes, in care of World Theatre. Minneapolis, at 
once. 

Of course, Mr. Steffes will always be able to find room 
for every one who will attend, but he cannot guarantee you 
choice rooms unless you telegraph your request at once. 
You must remember that it will not be exhibitors alone that 
the Minneapolis hotels have to take care of; people of other 
businesses travel there, particularly at this time of the year. 

It is going to be a memorable convention and you cannot 
afford to miss it. 



82 



HARRISON'S REPORTS 



May 27, 1939 



"Inspector Hornleigh" with Gordon Harker 
and Alastair Sim 

(20//; Century-tax, April 21 ; time, 75 min.) 

This British-made picture can be recommended only for 
the most ardent followers of murder mystery melodramas, 
since the murderers identity is well concealed until the 
end ; otherwise, it has little appeal for the average Amer- 
ican audience, tor one thing, the players neither are known 
here nor do they give outstanding performances. Futher- 
more, their speech is at times difficult to understand. An- 
other thing against it is the fact that the story is developed 
for the most part by dialogue instead of by action. A mild 
romantic interest is worked into the plot : — 

While working on a murder case involving the death of 
a hotel porter, Cordon Harker, Scotland V ai d Inspector, 
discovers that a suitcase belonging to the murdered man 
was missing. When lie eventually locates it, lie finds in it, 
to his amazement, the budget bag belonging to the Chan- 
cellor of the Exchequer. Upon checking with the Chan- 
cellor and learning that he had his bag, Harker realizes 
that the second bag was undoubtedly used by some one as a 
means by which to get the budget secrets ; they had switched 
the bags while the Chancellor had been dining, copied the 
information, and then returned the original bag. Since it 
was too late for the Chancellor to change his budget plans, 
the contents of which gave an opportunity to the one who 
had read it to make a financial coup, Harker knows he had 
to solve the case quickly. During his investigation two 
more men are killed. Several persons are under suspicion. 
He finally confronts the men involved in the plot, and 
proves that the murders had been committed by a hotel 
porter-, who had stumbled upon the plot and wanted the 
information for himself. 

Bryan W allace wrote the screen play and Eugene Forde 
directed it. In the cast are Miki Hood, Wally Patch, Steve 
Geray, and others. 

Unsuitable lor children. It is all right for adolescents and 
adults. Suitability, Class B. Tempo, somewhat slow be- 
cause of too much dialogue. 

"Stolen Life" with Elisabeth Bergner 
and Michael Redgrave 

(Paramount, May 26; time, 87 min.') 
This British-made drama is an artistic achievement, 
but its appeal will be limited to theatres in large cities, 
and at that to class audiences. They should be inter- 
ested, not only in the engrossing story and intelligent 
dialogue, but also in the excellent performances, as 
well as in the lavish background. Miss Bergner, play- 
ing a dual role, surpasses previous performances; she 
makes one feel as if the two persons she portrays are 
separate and distinct characters, entirely different from 
each other except in looks. Although the action holds 
one absorbed, it is doubtful if the masses will appreciate 
the picture, for the plot is unfolded in a slow manner; 
this is so particularly in the closing scenes. 

The story revolves around twins, Martina and Syl- 
vina Lawrence (both played by Miss Bergner). Mar- 
tina is serious and honest, while Sylvina is flirtatious, 
callous, and selfish. Martina meets Alan McKenzie 
(Michael Redgrave), a mountain-climbing explorer, 
and the two soon fall in love with one another. Acci- 
dentally he meets gav Sylvina and. thinking her to be 
Martina, expresses his love for her. When he finds out 
tue trutn, he is too enamored of Sylvina to give her up; 
he marries her, to the despair of Martina. During Mc- 
Kenzie's absence, Martina visits her sister; they go out 
boating. A storm breaks and the boat capsizes; Sylvina 
drowns. Martina is rescued. Everyone believes she is 
Svlvina, for she was found clutching a marriage ring 
in her hand; it was her sister's ring, which had slipped 
into her palm while she was trying to hold on to her 
sister's hand. She continues to let everyone believe her 
Sylvina. To her horror, she learns that her sister had 
been having an affair. Her father, who discovered the 
deception, warns her of the danger. When McKenzie 
returns, she is shocked to learn that he knew about the 
a (fair and, thinking her to be his wife, wanted to di- 
vorce her: it is then that she learns that it was really 
she herself whom he loved. She naturally tells him the 
truth. The true lovers are, therefore, united. 

The plot was adapted from the novel by K. J. Benes. 
Margaret Kennedy wrote the screen play; Paul Czin- 
ner directed and produced it. In the cast are Wilfrid 
Lawson, Mabel Terry Lewis, Richard Ainley, and 
others. 

Not for children or adolescents; good adult fare. 
Suitability, Class B. Tempo, slow. 



"Some Like It Hot" with Bob Hope 
and Shirley Ross 

(Paramount, May 19; time, 04 min.) 

Mild entertainment, the story, in addition to being trite, 
is sluw-moving. One or two situations manage to piovoke 
laughter ; this effect is owed to the clowning by Bob Hope. 
But, aside from that, there is little else to recommend it, 
for the action and dialogue lack freshness. The presence in 
the cast of Cene Krupa and his band may serve as a lure 
for young "jitterbug" fans; as a matter of fact, they will 
be the only ones who will enjoy the music lie plays. The 
romance is routine : — 

Bob Hope, manager of a midway attraction, finds himself 
without funds and with a disgruntled group of musicians. 
He tries to convince Bernard Nedell, owner of the midway, 
that Krupa's band was good enough to play at his dance 
palace, but Nedell, having no faith in Bob, refuses to listen 
to him. Bob meets and talis in love with Shirley Ross, a 
singer, who had placed her faith in him. Knowing he had no 
money, she gives him a ring she owned, asking him to use it 
to buy material for an act. Bob, in an effort to double his 
money, loses the ring to Nedell in a dice game ; he does the 
same thing with a song both he and Miss Ross had written. 
Krupa and his band, having been put out of their quarters, 
start playing on the boardwalk and immediately attract a 
crowd of dancers. Nedell, realizing that the band was good, 
offers to sign them up with Miss Ross as singer, but with- 
out Bob. At first Miss Ross refuses, but when she learns 
what Bob had done with the ring and song, she agrees. Bob 
leaves; later he works at low jobs. Eventually he returns 
and is reconciled with Miss Ross, who convinces Nedell 
that Bob would make a good master of ceremonies. 

Ben Hecht and Cene Fowler wrote the story. George 
Archainbaud directed it. In the cast are Una Merkel, Rufe 
Davis, 1 larrv Barris, and others. 

Suitability, Class A. Tempo, rather slow. 



"Only Angels Have Wings" with Cary Grant 
and Jean Arthur 

(Columbia, May 26; time, 120 min.) 

A powerful melodrama, centering around commercial 
aviation ; it is a thriller for those who enjoy aviation pic- 
tures. Some of the situations are, however, extremely har- 
rowing. One such situation (but one that holds the specta- 
tor in tense suspense) is that in which Noah Beery, Jr., 
flying in the fog, attempts to land by means of radio direc- 
tions given to him from the field by Cary Grant, his chief. 
One realizes the hopelessness of the attempt ; consequently, 
one feels deep sympathy for the flier, who eventually 
crashes. Another such situation is that in which a pilot, in 
spite of the fact that his plane was on fire and he was 
burned, flies it to the landing field. The photography in the 
air scenes is exceptional. Even though processed shots are 
used for the background when the different characters are 
supposed to be flying, the effect is so realistic that one feels 
as if the actors were actually piloting the planes. 

The story itself is routine; it revolves around a group of 
adventurous men, headed by Grant, who worked against 
the most difficult odds in an effort to build up a commercial 
airline from a small port in South America to the interior. 
To this center comes Jean Arthur, a showgirl, who was on 
her way back to the States. Her boat had stopped at the 
port for a few hours and she had decided to see the sights. 
She becomes acquainted with two pilots, and later meets 
Grant, with whom she falls deeply in love. The death of a 
young pilot and the casual way his friends accept it depress 
her. But Grant explains to her that, unless the men acted 
that way, they would go mad. She purposely misses her 
boat, which annoys Grant. Although he had become at-, 
tracted to her, it was one of his ruies not to ask favors of 
any women. Upon the arrival of Richard Barthelmess, a 
pilot who had been blackballed because he had once jumped 
from his plane leaving his mechanic to crash, things begin 
to happen, for the brother (Thomas Mitchell) of the dead 
mechanic was one of Grant's pilots. Eventually Barthel- 
mess, under dangerous conditions, proves his worth even to 
Mitchell, who dies after an accident. Grant leaves for the 
last important flight before the airmail contract could be 
assured. In a subtle way he asks Miss Arthur to wait for 
him ; she is overjoyed. 

Howard Hawks wrote the story, directed and produced it. 
Jules Furthman wrote the screen play. In the cast are 
Rita Hayworth, Sig Ruman, Victor Kilian, John Carroll, 
Allyn Joslyn, and others. 

Suitability, Class A. Although the tempo is not fast, the 
action holds one's interest well. 



May 27, 1939 



HARRISON'S REPORTS 



83 



"Captain Fury" with Brian Aherne, Victor 
Mc La. glen and June Lang 

{United Artists, May 26; time, 91 min.) 

Good for the action-melodrama fans, particularly for 
those in small towns. It is a typical western melodrama, 
with lights, shooting, and fast horseback riding, the only 
change being in tiie locale — the action takes place in 
Australia. It lacks the full measure of excitement of 
"big" westerns, in spite of the fact that the production 
values are good and the acting competent. This is caused 
by the lack of novelty in the plot development, and by the 
repetition of situations showing the hero and bis men 
rushing to the rescue of terrorized ranchers. The ease 
with which the hero accomplishes his work is at times 
too far-fetched. On occasion, the action provokes 
laughter due to the antics of Victor McLaglen. The 
romance is pleasant: — 

Brian Aherne, a political prisoner, arrives in Aus- 
tralia with other convicts to serve his time at hard 
labor. Geroge Zucco, an avaricious land owner who 
dreamed of developing an empire for himself, takes 
Aherne and other prisoners to work for him. Aherne, 
unable to bear the cruelties inflicted on the prisoners, 
escapes and hides at the ranch house in which Paul 
Lukas lived with his daughter (June Lang). Lukas 
orders him out. But Aherne, hearing of the tortures 
Zucco was inflicting on the ranchers so as to force 
them out, offers to fight for their cause. Lukas, a stern 
moralist, pleads with the ranchers not to accept 
Aherne's help, but they disregard his advice. With their 
help, Aherne releases a few prisoners, including Mc- 
Laglen. The band, headed by Aherne, outwits Zucco 
and his men each time they attempt to harm ranchers. 
In the meantime, the Governor-General, having heard 
about Aherne, travels to the interior to find out for 
himself what was happening. Zucco's men imprison 
Lukas. They then try to prove that the charred body 
of a man found in Lukas" burned house was that of 
Lukas, and that Aherne had committed the murder; 
the dead man was really one of Zucco's gang, who had 
gone there to steal Lukas' money. The timely arrival 
of the Governor-General and the presence of Lukas, 
who had escaped, save Aherne's life. He, McLaglen 
and one other prisoner, are pardoned, the others having 
been killed. Zucco is forced out, and the ranchers are 
guaranteed protection. Lukas begs Aherne's forgive- 
ness and gives his consent to the marriage of his 
daughter to Aherne. 

Grover Jones, Jack Jevne, and William DeMille 
wrote the screen play, and Hal Roach directed and 
produced it. In the cast are John Carradine, Douglas 
Dumbrille, Virginia Field, Charles Middleton, Lums- 
den Hare, and others. 

Suitability, Class A. Tempo, fairly fast. 



"Ex-Champ" with Victor McLaglen, 
Tom Brown and Nan Grey 

{Universal, May 19; time, 72 min.) 

Mild program fare. Its appeal should be directed almost 
exclusively to men, young as well as old, because the action 
and dialogue are concerned mostly with prizefighting. The 
father-love angle is hardly appealing since the son, for 
whom the father makes many sacrifices, is unworthy ; one 
feels as if the father was wasting his time. Moreover, the 
father's actions of attempting in the end to betray one who 
had trusted him, just to make easy money for his son, who 
had lost on the stock market money belonging to a client, 
are hardly pleasurable. The romance is appealing but of 
little importance : — 

Victor McLaglen, a former tri-state boxing champion, is 
proud of his son (Donald Briggs), having sacrificed a 
great deal to send him through college. But McLaglen's 
daughter (Nan Grey) knows how ungrateful Briggs was. 
McLaglen, who had not lost his interest in fighting, takes 
under his wing Tom Brown, an ambitious boxer. In the 
meantime, Briggs marries a society girl (Constance 
Moore), without telling her anything about his family; he 
does not even invite his father or sister to the wedding. 
McLaglen decides to train Brown, who had shown good 
possibilities; he finally arranges for him to fight the cliam- 
p ; on. It is then that he learns that Briggs had lost on the 
stock market not only his own money but also money that 
had been entrusted to him by a client. McLaglen asks 
Briggs to borrow $30,000, which he would bet against 
Brown; he promises to see to it that Brown does not win. 
But through no fault of his the plans fall through. He is 
overjoyed when he learns that his pal (William Frawley), 



to whom he had given the money to bet, had bet it on 
Brown. Briggs begs for forgiveness, and everything is ad- 
justed. Miss Grey marries Brown. 

Gordon Kahn wrote the story, and Alex Gottlieb and 
Edmund L. Hartinann, the screen play ; Phil Rosen di- 
rected it, and Burt Kelly produced it. In the cast are 
Samuel S. Hinds, Thurston Hall, and others. 

The actions of both Briggs and his father are not parti- 
cularly edifying for children; suitable for adolescents and 
adults. Suitability, Class B. Tempo, somewhat slow. 



"Tell No Tales" with Melvyn Douglas 
and Louise Piatt 

(MGM, May 12; time, 09 min.) 

A fast-moving, tensely exciting program melodrama. 
Capably acted and directed, it is the type of entertainment 
that should hold the interest of nearly any type of audience. 
Not that the story itself is novel ; it is the intelligent way in 
which it has been handled. Situations that might, in other 
pictures, seem far-fetched, appear here to be logical. An- 
other thing in the picture's favor is that, the development of 
the plot, instead of being done by dialogue, is acted out. A 
romance is hinted at : — ■ 

Melvyn Douglas, editor of a reputable newspaper, is 
shocked when the publisher (Douglas Dumbrille) informs 
him that he had decided to discontinue publishing the paper. 
He offers Douglas a job on his tabloid newspaper, which 
Douglas turns down. But that very night Douglas comes 
upon a lead in a kidnapping case that had puzzled the 
police — a hundred dollar bill bearing one of the numbers of 
the ransom money. By careful questioning, Douglas is able 
to trace the bill to the original dispenser. But his efforts 
endanger his life, as well as that of Louise Piatt, a young 
school-teacher, who had been a witness to the kidnapping. 
Eventually he traps the kidnappers ; but, before turning 
them over to the police, he rushes through an extra in his 
own newspaper. It naturally creates a sensation. Dumbrille, 
realizing his mistake, orders the newspaper to continue 
with Douglas as its editor. Miss Piatt gives up her school 
position to work on the newspaper so as to be near Douglas. 

Pauline London and Alfred Taylor wrote the story, and 
Lionel Houser, the screen play ; Leslie Fenton directed it, 
and Edward Chodorov produced it. In the cast are Gene 
Lockhart, Florence George, Halliwell Hobbes, Zeffie Til- 
bury, Harlan Briggs, and others. 

Not suitable for children. Adolescents and adults should 
enjoy it. Suitability, Class B. 



"Boy Friend" with Jane Withers, 
Arleen Whelan and Richard Bond 

( 20th Century-Fox, May 19 ; time, 72 min.) 

Strictly for the juvenile trade and for Jane Withers' 
fans, for she appears almost throughout. Adults may be 
bored, because the action is so far-fetched. For instance, 
Jane and another youngster are shown solving a mystery 
that had baffled the police. As usual, she provokes laughter 
by the way she interferes in everything, thereby involving 
those who try to help her. Another cause for laughter is her 
first puppy love affair. The closing scenes, where the gang 
is rounded up, are fairly exciting : — 

Jane, whose mother ran a boarding house for police rook- 
ies, is delighted when George Ernest, younger brother of 
one of the rookies, arrives from military school for a visit. 
To win his attention, she pretends to put on airs. Everyone 
is heartbroken when Ernest's brother is killed while trying 
to prevent a robbery at a fur house. To add to Jane's woes, 
her brother (Richard Bond) resigns from police school, 
preferring to join a gang headed by Douglas Fowley ; it 
was this gang that had been responsible for the death of 
Ernest's brother. But no one knows that Bond was really 
working for the police in an effort to get evidence agaiuM 
the gang. Jane and Ernest stumble onto the facts. They find 
the Stolen furs hidden in the basement of a night club from 
which Fowley operated. In the meantime, Fowley finds out 
about Bond's connection with the police and plans to kill 
him. But quick thinking on the part of Jane saves Bond's 
life. The gang is rounded up. Bond goes back to the police 
school, to the joy of Arleen Whelan, his fiancee. 

Lester Ziffen and Louis Moore wrote the story, and 
Joseph Hoffman and Barry Trivers, the screen play; James 
Tinling directed it, and John Stone produced it. in the 
cast arc Warren Hytner, Robert Kellard. Minor Watson, 
and others. 

The fact that the gangsters are not glorified makes it 
suitable for children. Suitability, Class A. Tempo, fairly 
fast. 



84 



HARRISON'S REPORTS 



May 27, 1939 



METRO-GOLDWYN-MAYER 
FORECASTS 

(Continued jroin last week's issue) 

"A LADY COM ES TO TOWN," the Clements Ripley 
short novel, with Juan Crawford. A domestic drama, in 
which the heroine has a quarrel with her mother because 
she wanted to marry against her wishes, follows the man 
she loved and, when she finds out that he was a derelict, 
tries to get a job, is helped by a gambler, whose mistress 
she eventually becomes. She discovers a silver mine, and 
she and the gambler marry. 

Comment : The characters are unsympathetic, and there 
is very little of the action that arouses one's interest. 

Forecast : Unless the material is altered radically, the 
picture will undoubtedly turn out poor. 

"LADY OF THE TROPICS," with Robert Taylor 
and Hedy LaMarr, a romantic melodrama dealing exten- 
sively with sex affairs, showing the hero marrying the 
mistress of a banker (heroine). The banker frames him on 
a murder charge. Hut he goes crazy and blurts out the 
truth. The story unfolds in Saigon, Indo-China. 

Forecast: It is doubtful whether a picture based on this 
story could make an entertaining picture. As for its box- 
office possibilities, not even Robert Taylor's popularity can 
help a poor picture much. 

"THE LADY AND THE WAITER," the play by 
Dorothy Milhau, a romantic comedy revolving around the 
subduing of a spoiled society girl, with the girl's mother 
having a hard time keeping her daughter from falling in 
love with different men. 

Comment : Light comedy material, with pretty fast action. 

Forecast : The story should make a good program picture. 

"LOVER COME BACK TO ME," the play "New 
Moon," by Sigmund Romberg, with Jeanette MacDonald 
and Xelson Eddy, a romantic melodrama with music, un- 
folding during the reign of King Louis XVI. 

Comment: Although this story was produced in 1930, 
under the title "New Moon," the present story has been 
altered to such an extent that it fits the stars extremely 
well, for it gives them an opportunity to sing. MGM in- 
tends, no doubt, to produce it in technicolor. 

Forecast : It should turn out a very good entertainment, 
with good to very good box-ofhee results. 

"MADAME CURIE," the biography of the famed scien- 
tist by Eve Curie, her daughter, with Greta Garbo as 
Madame Curie. 

Comment : There is much human-interest material in 
this story. The sacrifices of Madame Curie and of Mr. 
Curie, her husband, discoverers of radium — the nobleness 
of these two people to help mankind, should move the heart 
of every one. It should appeal to men as well as women ; 
and even to children. 

Forecast : The picture will, no doubt, turn out to be 
excellent, and since the book has been read widely, and, in 
addition, the story ran serially in the Ladies' Home Journal, 
it should have excellent results at the box office. 

"MAY FLAVIN," the novel by Myron Brinig, a drama 
of a woman who is deserted by her husband, leaving her 
alone with her six children, and who, starting out from 
poverty-stricken surroundings, ends up with a luxurious 
home in Hollywood. 

Comment : There are enough doings to hold one's atten- 
tion tensely. May is a sympathetic character — she is the 
eternal sacrificing mother. But Flavin is unsympathetic. As 
to the children, some of them are good whereas some bad. 

Forecast: MGM will, no doubt make suitable alterations 
in situations as well as characterizations. If so, the picture 
should turn out good or very good in quality, the box-office 
results depending on the leads. 

"NICKEL SHOW," a story by Vera Caspary, dealing 
with the development of moving picture theatres from 
nickel shows to palaces. A triangle drama is interwoven in 
the plot. 

Comment : An ordinary story, in which the heroine is 
unsympathetic, because she does not value a good husband ; 
she prefers to keep up a romance with a man who proves 
himself to be unworthy of her. 

Forecast: A "B" type picture, for double bills. 

"NINOTSHKA," a comedy-melodrama, the story by 
Melchior Lengyel, with Greta Garbo, to be produced by 
Ernst Lubitsch. The heroine is a representative of Soviet 
Russia. She is sent to Paris to negotiate a trade agreement. 



is invited to his home by a count, who is a professional 
lover, but charming. The agreement is not consummated, 
and she is recalled ; it is eventually consummated in Mos- 
cow. The two find that they love each other. 
Comment : Not much to the story. 

Forecast : Because of the fact that Greta Garbo will be 
in the leading part and Ernst Lubitsch will direct it, no 
doubt the Storj will be altered considerably. It may turn 
out good or very good in quality, with similar box-office 
results. 

"NORTHWEST PASSAGE," the Kenneth Roberts 
novel, a best seller, with Robert Taylor, Spencer Tracy and 
W allace Beery, an adventure melodrama, a period story, 
unfolding in London and in America in the after-revolu- 
tionary days. 

Comment: There is plentiful action in this story, consid- 
erable human appeal, and a charming romance. 

Forecast : The story should make a very good picture. 
As to its chances at your box office, it will depend on 
whether costume pictures are or are not popular. 

"NOT TOO NARROW, NOT TOO DEEP," the novel 
by Richard B. Sale, a melodrama of primitive passions and 
of religious faith that performs sort of minor miracles. To 
star Joan Crawford and Spencer Tracy The story deals 
with convicts who had escaped from Devil's Island. One of 
them had been jailed for manslaughter; another was a 
petty thief who had turned homosexual for protection, a 
brute becoming his protector ; one is a tubercular American 
professor ; one, a Frenchman, who had been sent to the 
island for raping children ; one had murdered his wife. 

Comment : The book is powerful, but the action a mixture 
of revolting things and of religion. MGM will, no doubt, 
alter the situations as well as the characterizations radically 
since it has announced two outstanding stars in the leads. 

Forecast : With alterations, it should turn out a powerful 
melodrama, with good to very good box-office possibilities. 

"ON BORROWED TIME," Paul Osborn's stage play, 
which was founded on the novel by Lawrence Edward 
Watkin ; it is to star Lionel Barrymore, Sir Cedric Hard- 
wicke, and Bob Watson. It is a fantasy about death, with 
the action allegorical. 

Comment : The play was highly successful in New York, 
playing for ten months. There is pathos, and the interest is 
tense throughout. Most of the sympathy goes to the young 
boy, the part having been played on the stage by Peter 
Holden, who appeared in RKO's "The Great Man Votes." 

Forecast : There is no question that the picture will turn 
out an artistic achievement. Whether, however, it will be 
successful at the box office to a similar degree it is hard to 
tell. As a rule, pictures whose themes are death have so far 
failed at the box office. "Peter Grimm," for example ; and 
"Outward Bound," and "Liliom," and "Earthbound," and 
others. "Death Takes a Holiday" has been a partial excep- 
tion : in some spots it did well, whereas in some others it 
did poor business. Perhaps the good results in some spots 
were owed to Fredric March, who was at the height of his 
popularity at that time. At any rate, MGM will, no doubt, 
make a creditable production with it. 

"ROSARY," the play by Edward E. Rose, dealing with 
a hero, who met the heroine while passing by a church and 
hearing her sing "The Rosary" ; they soon marry. There 
are several misunderstandings, but all these are removed in 
the end. 

Comment : The story was produced by First National 
in 1922. It is old-fashioned material, but it could be im- 
proved by proper alterations in characterizations as well as 
in structure. 

Forecast : Since the material lends itself to alterations, 
MGM should make with it a picture either good or very 
good in quality. The title is good for the box office, which 
could be helped very much if the leading parts should be 
given to popular players. 

"RUINED CITY," dealing with a London banker's sac- 
rifice to help a community. From the Nevil Shute story 
"Kindling." Most of the background is that of a fictitious 
country. 

Forecast : The story is somewhat prosaic, the best feature 
of it being the hero's determination to help other people, in 
gratitude of his having regained his health, which had gone 
to pieces when he had learned that his wife had relations 
with a man who was not of the white race. The action is 
fairly fast. 

Forecast : MGM will, no doubt, eliminate the relationship 
of the hero's wife with a non-white man. If so, the story 
should make a fairly good program picture. 



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Vol. XXI SATURDAY, JUNE 3, 1939 No. 22 



LET THERE BE ANOTHER GREATER 
MOVIE SEASON CAMPAIGN 

"Suggestions made recently by Spyros Skouras for the 
need of another united industry drive for patronage," says 
John C. Flinn, in the May 24 issue of weekly Variety, 
"seem timely at the moment when the nation's box-office is 
entering the seasonal summer doldrums. Skouras was the 
principal proponent of the industry's drive last autumn, 
and an enthusiastic supporter of the group that believed 
the ultimate aims of that campaign were attained." 

This paper wishes to go on record as being in favor of 
another such campaign, for it believes that, despite the mis- 
takes of last year's campaign, the industry as a whole bene- 
fitted. More than six hundred editorials favoring and boost- 
ing the campaign appeared in the dailies of the nation. And 
who can say that these editorials did not do an immense 
amount of good? Before the campaign, columnists were 
maligning the industry, and many newspapers were taking 
a ghoulish joy in "ribbing" it. As soon as the campaign 
started, all that stopped, and lauding took its place. 

Exhibitors and producer-distributors may have their dif- 
ferences, the result of diversity of interests ; but no one can 
disagree, on either side, when it comes to working up among 
the public an interest to attend motion pictures, for then 
both producer-distributors and exhibitors benefit. 

This year the reasons for such a campaign are not exactly 
the same as the reasons for last year's. Last year the busi- 
ness was shot to pieces because of the ill feeling that had 
been created against the industry by the radio commenta- 
tors and by some of the newspapers ; this year, the picture 
business has reached the lowest in years because of general 
business conditions, on the one hand, and the general poor 
quality of pictures, on the other, compelling the public to go 
to the picture theatres only when some outstanding produc- 
tion is shown. 

A movie campaign by a united industry is needed more 
this year than was needed in any other past year, for an- 
other reason — to prevent the public from becoming aware 
of the mood of the exhibitors. Every exhibitor is disheart- 
ened, but he should not let the public gain knowledge of that 
feeling; otherwise, more people will keep away from the 
theatres. 

It is understood, of course, that in the new campaign the 
mistakes of the old campaign will not be repeated. The 
"Movie Quiz" contest will be left out, naturally, and care 
will undoubtedly be taken to avoid a repetition of other mis- 
takes. Last year's experience should prove a teacher. 



NEW YORK STATE UNIT IN FULL 
ACCORD WITH NATIONAL BODY 

For several days before the New York State Allied unit 
held its convention, there appeared in the trade papers 
news items to the effect that the New York State unit, of 
which Mr. Max Cohen, an owner of several theatres in this 
city, is its president, was not in full accord with the policies 
and methods of the national body. 

Judging by the kind of resolution the New York State 
unit passed unanimously at its convention, which was held 
in this city last week, one learns that those statements were 
not authorized ; they were merely the deductions of the 
trade paper reporters. 

The following is the resolution : 

"WHEREAS, the Allied States Association of Motion 
Picture exhibitors has fought consistently and successfully 
for the welfare of the independent exhibitors; and 



"WHEREAS, the National Board of Directors of 
Allied, at their annual meeting in Washington, January 
17th, 1939, unanimously adopted the following resolution 
regarding Trade Practice Proposals and the future policy 
of the National body : 

" 'After thorough study of the proposals submitted, and 
presupposing that legal and workable wording of such pro- 
posals can be evolved, the Board nevertheless feels that such 
proposals fall far short of curing the industry evils of which 
Allied and the independent exhibitors have complained. The 
Board therefore reiterates the stand taken in its former 
resolution that nothing in any plan which may be reported 
shall in any way hinder or preclude Allied States Associa- 
tion from seeking a larger measure of relief than that 
offered by the distributors, by legislation, litigation, or 
otherwise. Further, that the Allied campaign of legislation 
and litigation be prosecuted unceasingly and with vigor, 
therefore, be it 

"RESOLVED, that Allied Theatre Owners of New 
York [State] hereby goes on record as being completely in 
accord with the National policies as above stated by the 
National Board of Directors, and hereby instructs its 
officers and its representatives on the National Board to 
give the fullest cooperation to the national body in carrying 
forward its policies." 

Col. H. A. Cole, president of the national body, was en- 
thusiastic about the work Mr. Cohen has done in building 
up the New York State unit. "He is a tireless and sys- 
tematic worker," Mr. Cole stated to the writer. 



METRO-GOLDWYN-MAYER 
FORECASTS 

(Concluded from last ivcek's issue) 

"THE SEA OF GRASS," the Conrad Richter novel, 
with Spencer Tracy, a melodrama unfolding in the west, 
with a feud between cattlemen and "nesters" as the back- 
ground, and with an old Colonel, enemy of the nesters, as 
the chief character. In the story, the Colonel's wife deserts 
him, and their son becomes a criminal ; she returns on the 
day the boy was buried, and the Colonel received his wife 
as if she had never gone away. 

Comment : The story is powerful, and in some spots 
deeply appealing. The sufferings of the old Colonel cannot 
help touching one's heartstrings. Mr. Tracy certainly ought 
to do great justice to the part. 

Forecast : MGM has a good piece of property in this 
story, and with a few alterations here and there there is no 
reason why it should not make a very good picture, in 
quality as well as in box-office results. 

"SOLDIERS THREE," the Rudyard Kipling novel, a 
melodrama, in which one of the characters is driven insane 
by the tormenting of his comrades and starts shooting 
people. The hero, by proper maneuvering, overpowers him. 

Comment : This is not really a plot, but one big situation. 
The incidents employed by the late Mr. Kipling to work his 
character up to frenzy, making him crack under the tor- 
menting, with the final flare up, resulting in murder, and in 
the murderer's hanging, show the author's skill in handling 
words. But the material, though suspensive, is not pleasur- 
able. 

Forecast : Unless MGM will have a new storv written, 
using this episode as part of it, it is doubtful if the picture 
will turn out entertaining. 

"THE SPUR OF PRIDE," the Percival C. Wren novel, 
an adventure melodrama unfolding in India, with British 
( Continued on last pa;fe) 



HARRISON'S REPORTS 



June 3, 1939 



"Exile Express" with Anna Sten 
and Alan Marshal 

(Grand National, May 27; time, 70 min.) 

From a production standpoint, "Exile Express" is as 
good as most major company releases ; but as entertainment, 
it is only fairly good, for the story lacks plausibility. As a 
matter of fact, some of the situations are slightly ridiculous ; 
this is so particularly in the situation where the heroine 
diverts the attention of two policemen, who were looking 
for her, by entertaining them with a "jitterbug" dame. The 
story, dealing with espionage, should hold the attention of 
an average audience, since the plot is not too involved ; 
they may be pleased also with the patriotic note that is 
worked into the plot, for it is done without preachment. 
( )ne feels some sympathy for the heroine, whose innocence 
is proved in the end : — 

Anna Sten, who worked as an assistant to Harry Daven- 
port, a scientist, looks forward with joy to receiving her 
citizenship papers. But Davenport is killed by a spy ring, 
who wanted to obtain control of a secret formula he had 
perfected. The officials, believing that Miss Sten was in- 
volved with the spies, arrange to deport her. Jerome Cowan, 
who was supposedly in love with her, arranges for her 
escape from the train that was taking her to Ellis Island. 
She did not know that Cowan was at the head of the spy 
ring. His purpose in "rescuing" her was to force her to 
read the scientist's notes that had been partly burned. In 
order to make her re-entry into the United States pos- 
sible, Cowan arranges for her to marry an American citi- 
zen. Alan Marshal, a newspaper reporter, who had fol- 
lowed her, takes the frightened bridegroom's place. Be- 
fore the night is over, they are in love with each other. 
Hut, believing that a story about her that had appeared in a 
newspaper had been written by Marshal, she runs away and 
goes to Cowan's home. It is then that she learns the truth. 
Marshal arrives with the police in time to save her and to 
capture the spies. Miss Sten is cleared and receives her 
citizenship papers; she is then reconciled with Marshal. 

Edwin Justus Mayer wrote the story, and Ethyl La- 
Blanche, the screen play ; Otis Garrett directed it, and 
Eugene Frenke produced it. In the cast are Jed Prouty, 
Walter Catlett, Stanley Fields, Leonid Kinsky, and others. 

Suitability, Class A. Tempo fairly fast. 

"Bridal Suite" with Annabella 
and Robert Young 

(MGM, May 26; time, 69 min.) 
A silly romantic comedy, with a trite plot. The action is 
slow and tiresome ; as a matter of fact the story is developed 
mostly by dialogue. In addition, the characters, particularly 
the hero, are unappealing. This is due not to the fault of the 
performers, but to the inanity of the material. For instance, 
one situation shows the hero tricking the heroine into visit- 
ing him in his room, and then attempting to force his at- 
tentions on her. Even if this were meant to be comical, it is 
in bad taste. Annabella's accent still makes her speech un- 
intelligible : — 

Robert Young, pampered son of Billie Burke and Gene 
Lockhart, an American millionaire, gallivants around 
Europe, spending money and doing no work. His mother, 
who adored him, is unhappy because, on different occasions, 
he had missed his own wedding to Virginia Field. Lock- 
hart is so annoyed that he threatens to disown him. Miss 
Burke, fearing that her son was ill, insists that he go with 
her to a resort in the Alps where a famous doctor (Walter 
Connolly) was vacationing. Connolly is annoyed when they 
arrive, but he examines Young and insists that the only 
thing wrong with him was the fact that he did not work. 
Young meets Annabella, proprietress of the inn. and makes 
love to her, but she really falls in love with him. The shock 
he receives when he hears that she had fallen down the 
mountain makes him realize that he loved her. He is happy 
to find her safe. But they part. Young leaves for America 
with his mother, Miss Field and her father; the plans 
were for the young couple to be married by the Captain on 
the ship. Annabella shows up, ready to believe in Young ; 
again she is disappointed when she hears about the impend- 
ing marriage. Young jilts Miss Field, marrying Annabella 
instead. His father is delighted at the change in his son, who 
was now ready to work, having been inspired by Annabella 
to do so. 

Gottfried Bernhardt and Virginia Faulkner wrote the 
story, and Samuel Hoffenstein, the screen play; William 
Thiele directed it, and Edgar Selwyn produced it. In the 
cast are Reginald Owen, Arthur Treacher, and others. 

The bedroom, scene referred to makes it unsuitable for 
children and adolescents ; adult fare. Suitability, Class B. 
Tempo, slow. 



"The Gorilla" with the Ritz Brothers, 
Bela Lugosi, Lionel Atwill 
and Patsy Kelly 

(20th Century-Fox, May 26 ; time, 65 min.) 

This murder mystery-comedy, which was produced twice 
before, once in 1927 and again in 1930, is just fair pro- 
gram entertainment. Although the story is extremely far- 
fetched, it offers many Opportunities for the Ritz Brothers, 
as three silly, frightened detectives, to provoke laughter by 
their antics. Patsy Kelly, too, provides many amusing 
moments. All the customary tricks have been employed to 
create an eerie atmosphere, such as sliding panels, strange 
disappearances, thunder and lightning, screaming, suspi- 
cious-looking characters, and so forth. The method em- 
ployed in the closing scenes to expose the murderer is weak 
and confused; many spectators will not understand it. A 
mild romance has been worked into the plot : — 

Lionel Atwill, receives a note informing him that he 
would be killed by " The Gorilla," a notorious criminal, 
who had murdered many persons. He engages the Ritz 
Brothers, private detectives, to guard him ; but these are so 
frightened that they are of little help. Atwill's niece (Anita 
Louise), who had received an urgent message from her 
uncle to visit him. arrives with her fiance (Edward Nor- 
ris). When Atwill informs her of what was happening, she 
is frightened, and suspecting the sinister-looking butler 
( Bela Lugosi ). The Ritz Brothers, by their bungling, make 
every one in the house nervous. When they actually come 
face to face with a gorilla, they are too frightened to do 
anything. Joseph Calleia, who professed to be a detective, 
aids them in their investigation. He leads them to believe 
that Atwill himself had used the gorilla make-up, his pur- 
pose being to kill his niece and then collect her inheritance. 
Eventually Harry Ritz proves that there had been loose in 
the house, a real gorilla, and that Calleia himself was the 
murderer. Atwill, who was head of an insurance company 
that had suffered losses because of the murders, then ex- 
plains that the whole thing bad been arranged so as to trap 
Calleia. 

The plot was adapted from the play by Ralph Spence. 
Rian James and Sid Silvers wrote the screen play, Allan 
Dwan directed it, and Harry Joe Brown produced it. In the 
cast are Wally Vernon, Paul Harvey, Art Miles, and others. 

Children may be frightened. Suitable for adolescents and 
adults. Class B. Tempo fast. 



"Gracie Allen Murder Case" with 
Gracie Allen, Kent Taylor 
and Warren William 

(Paramount , June 2 ; time, 75 min.) 
This is a very good comedy-mystery murder melodrama. 
Considering the fact that Gracie Allen plays her usual nit- 
wit role, it is amazing that some semblance of seriousness 
could be maintained. Not only are her antics extremely 
comical, but the story itself is interesting. She is at her best 
here, particularly in the second half, when she decides to 
help "Philo Vance" solve a murder case. The situation in 
which she looks into a mirror and imagines her own reflec- 
tion to be that of some one else, probably the mystery 
woman in the case, should provoke hearty laughter. But 
most comical are the things she says ; these tend to incrimi- 
nate innocent persons in the crime. The last scene, which 
shows her shaking hands with two men and getting all 
mixed up, is so comical, that spectators will leave the 
theatre roaring : — 

Miss Allen, the silly niece of Jed Prouty, meets her 
uncle's perfume factory employees at a picnic ; she is at- 
tracted to Kent Taylor, who purposely pays attention to 
her in order to arouse the jealousy of Ellen Drew. But he 
regrets his act, for Miss Allen soon has him involved in a 
murder case : thinking that he had committed the murder, 
she places in the hands of the police evidence to convict him, 
hut asks them for leniency because it was the first murder 
Taylor had committed. The detectives get all mixed up by 
the things she tells them. Taylor is arrested. Warren Wil- 
liam, famous detective, enters the case. He realizes that 
Taylor was innocent, and begins an investigation. He tries 
to keep away from Miss Allen but she follows him and 
insists on helping. Despite her hampering his work, he 
solves the case and points out the guilty persons. Taylor is 
released. Miss Allen is sorry when she learns that Kent 
loved Miss Drew. 

S. S. VanDine wrote the story, and Nat Perrin, the 
screen play; Alfred E. Green directed it, and George 
Arthur produced it. In the cast are Judith Barrett, Jerome 
Cowan, Donald MacBride, William Demarest, and others. 

Since the comedy predominates, suitability Class B. 
Tempo fairly fast. 



June 3, 1939 



HARRISON'S REPORTS 



87 



"Racketeers of the Range" 
with George O'Brien 

(RKO, May 26; time, 62 min.) 

A good program western melodrama. It gives the fans 
the kind of excitement they like — fast horseback riding, 
good fist fights, and plentiful shooting. The story, although 
routine, holds one's attention fairly well because of the 
constant danger to the hero, who had undertaken to help 
the ranchers fight a large company's attempts to monopolize 
the cattle business. The heroine at first appears at a disad- 
vantage because of her silliness in refusing to listen to 
reason ; but she changes later. The romance is minimized : — 

Realizing that a certain large corporation was trying to 
monopolize the cattle business, which would mean virtual 
ruin for the Arizona ranchers, O'Brien induces the ranchers 
to place their trust in him. He prevents the heroine from 
selling her meat-packing business to the corporation. At 
first she is resentful, but when she learns the facts she 
works with O'Brien. Gangsters engaged by the corporation 
try to outwit O'Brien so as to stop him from continuing 
with his plans to deliver cattle. But after a terrific fight, 
O'Brien and his men succeed with their plans and rid the 
territory of the gangsters. Miss Reynolds is happy, for she 
had fallen in love with him. 

Bernard McConville wrote the story, and Oliver Drake, 
the screen play; D. Ross Lederman directed it, and Bert 
Gilroy produced it. In the cast are Chill Wills, Gay Sea- 
brooke, Robert Fiske, Ray Whitely, and others. 

Suitability, Class A. Tempo, fast. 

"Grand Jury Secrets" with John Howard, 
Gail Patrick and Harvey Stephens 

(Paramount, June 23; time, 68 min.) 

A fair program melodrama. At first, the hero, a news- 
paper reporter, is an obnoxious character, for he stoops 
to cheap tricks in order to obain scoops. For instance, he 
poses as a priest, thereby winning the confidence of a 
young prisoner who had refused to talk to the police for 
fear of involving his family. Moreover, he tries to make 
love to his brother's fiancee, an act that is distasteful to 
most persons. He does, however, redeem himself towards 
the end. The closing scenes are exciting : — 

Harvey Stephens, assistant district attorney, is disgusted 
at the tactics used by his brother (John Howard), a news- 
paper reporter, to obtain scoops for his newspaper. Howard 
would print anything, even if by doing so he would ob- 
struct justice. When the police arrest a young man on the 
charge of murdering an investment broker (Porter Hall ), 
Howard conceives the idea of posing as a priest in order 
to obtain a confession from the prisoner. His plan works. 
But when he jokingly tells his mother (Jane Darwell) 
what he had done, she is so ashamed of him that she slaps 
him. It is then that he comes to his senses. Stephens, know- 
ing what Howard had done, tries to force him to talk ; but 
Howard refuses, preferring to go to prison. Being desirous 
of making up for his misdeeds, Howard induces his brother 
to release him so that he could work on the case to prove 
the young man's innocence. Following a hunch, Howard 
finally solves the case by proving that Hall had been mur- 
dered by his own partner, but the murderer traps him. How- 
ard is saved by means of a signal he had sent out over the 
short wave radio. He is forgiven by all. 

Maxwell Shane and Irving Reis wrote the story, and 
Irving Reis and Robert Yost, the screen play; James 
Hogan directed it. In the cast are William Frawley, John 
Hartley, and others. 

Unsuitable for children, but satisfactory for adolescents 
and adults. Suitability, Class B. Tempo fairly fast. 



"The Mikado" with Kenny Baker 

(Universal, [1939-40 Rel.] ; time, 89 min.) 

A delightful, artistic presentation of the famous Gilbert 
and Sullivan comic operetta. There is no doubt that it will 
be received extremely well by the followers of Gilbert and 
Sullivan's works, for not only will they hear the familiar 
tunes, which are sung exceedingly well by a competent cast, 
but they will be treated to a production which far surpasses 
any stage version of the operetta. How the masses will 
accent it, however, it is another question. The music is 
familiar to young as well as old, but there are no names of 
box-office value, and the action is limited, because it has 
been produced in the form of a stage play : — 

Nanki-Poo (Kenny Baker), son of the Mikado (John 
Barclay), who, refusing to follow his father's orders that 
he marry Katisha (Constance Willis), an elderly court 
lady who loved him, runs away, disguised as a wandering 
minstrel. During his travels he meets Yum- Yum (Jean 
Colin), one of three sisters, wards of Ko-Ko ( Marty n 



Green) ; but to his sorrow he learns that Ko-Ko himself 
had arranged to marry Yum- Yum. Ko-Ko becomes Lord 
High Executioner of Titipu, but performs no executions. 
When he receives word from the Mikado that there should 
be a beheading, he does not know what to do. Learning that 
Nanki-Poo had decided to kill himself, Ko-Ko induces 
Nanki-Poo to let him behead him. Nanki-Poo agrees to it 
on one condition — that first he be permitted to marry Yum- 
Yum, after which he would not mind dying. Just before 
the marriage Katisha arrives and recognizes Nanki-Poo; 
she rushes to the Mikado for help. By the time the Mikado 
arrives, Nanki-Poo and Yum-Yum are married. Every- 
thing is adjusted when Ko-Ko, in order to save his neck, 
marries Katisha, even though she disgusted him. The 
Mikado forgives Nanki-Poo. 

Geoffrey Toye adapted, conducted and produced it. Victor 
Schertzinger directed it. Others in the cast are Sydney 
Granville, Gregory Stroud, and the chorus of the D'Oyly 
Carte Opera Company. 

Suitability, Class A. 

"Code of the Secret Service" with Ronald 
Reagan and Rosella Towne 

(First National, May 27; time, 57 min.) 

A wild program melodrama, with an appeal mostly to 
children and to action-melodrama fans. The plot is too far- 
fetched for intelligent adults. Occasionally, it is somewhat 
exciting, due to fast action, which places the hero in danger. 
Eddie Foy, Jr., is fairly amusing as the hero's assistant, who 
gets himself into scrapes. The romance is incidental : — 

Ronald Reagan, a United States Secret Service Agent, is 
assigned to the difficult task of tracking down a gang of 
clever counterfeiters. His search takes him outside of the 
United States. The agent (John Gallaudet) he was sup- 
posed to have contacted is killed by members of the gang, 
who make it appear as if Reagan, who was posing as a 
drunken gambler, was the guilty person, for they knew that 
Reagan was an agent. Reagan escapes in company with his 
assistant (Foy, Jr.). From bits of information he picks up, 
Reagan finally traces the gang to a mission house, where 
the leader (Moroni Olsen), disguised as a priest, traps him. 
Reagan is worried not about himself, but about Rosella 
Towne, a young girl he had met accidentally, who, too, was 
held captive by the gang. But again he manages to escape, 
this time with Miss Towne, and just in time, too, for Olsen 
had planted a bomb to blow up the mission with. The 
police arrive and arrest Olsen and one of his men ; the others 
had been killed in the explosion. 

Lee Katz and Dean Franklin wrote the screen play from 
material supplied by W. H. Moran. Noel Smith directed it, 
and Bryan Foy produced it. In the cast are Joseph King, 
Edgar Edwards, and others. 

Since the heroism of the hero is stressed, suitability Class 
A. Tempo fast. 



"The Girl from Mexico" with Lupe Velez 
and Donald Woods 

(RKO, June 2; time, 71 win.) 

The only thing that can be said for this comedy is that it 
moves along at a fairly fast pace. Aside from that, the 
story lacks originality and is, for the most part, silly, occa- 
sionally bordering on slapstick. Lupe Velez works hard, 
trying to make the best of trite material ; whatever enter- 
tainment value the picture has is due to her efforts : — 

Miss Velez, who had been brought to New York from 
Mexico by Donald Woods, advertising manager, to appear 
on a radio program, falls in love with Woods and resents 
the fact that he had a fiancee. The day before her audition, 
she induces Woods' uncle (Leon FrroD to show her New 
York sights. He takes her to a baseball game and to a 
wrestling match where she yells so much that she loses 
her voice. Consequently, she fails at the audition. In the 
meantime, Woods, who had fallen in love with her, dislikes 
to send her back home. She manages to obtain a position 
as a singer at a cafe to which Woods goes with a party, 
including a prospective customer. Woods is amazed to find 
Miss Velez there: and the customer is so taken by her 
charms that he insists that she be engaged for his program. 
Miss Velez uses this customer in order to arouse Woods' 
jealously. The trick works. Woods and his fiancee quarrel 
and part ; he is happy, for that leaves him free to marry 
Miss Velez. 

Lionel Houscr wrote the story, and he and Joseph A. 
Fields, the screen play: Leslie Goodwins directed it, and 
Robert Sisk produced it. In the cast are Linda Hayes, 
Donald MacBride, Elisabeth Risdon, Ward Bond, and 
others. 

Suitability, Class A. Tempo, fairly fast. 



8ci 



HARRISON'S REPORTS 



June 3, 1939 



officers as the chief characters. In it, the hero is framed by a 
subordinate officer, imaginary wrongs being the motive, and 
is cashiered from the army. His faithful orderly, a Hindu, 
takes him to his tribe, to which he is eventually inducted. 
Thus he is able to obtain valuable information about enemy 
plans, which he sends anonymously to the British. A British 
intelligence man eventually discovers him and learns the 
truth about the frame up. The two become disguised as 
natives and call on the subordinate, who by this time had 
become commander of a fort. They offer him a bribe, and 
he accepts it. Thus he is exposed, and is made to sign a 
confession. But at that moment an enemy tribe attacks them 
and the three forget their differences. The subordinate saves 
the life of the hero, but loses his own life. The hero, rather 
than besmirch the dead man's name, destroys the written 
confession, and with it the means by which he could have 
exonerated himself. 

Comment: It is a powerful story, directing a strong 
appeal to the emotions of sympathy. The hero's destroying 
tin- proof of his innocence m gratitude for his former be- 
trayer's act of self-sacrifice cannot help touching one. 
There is no romance, but in all likelihood the producers 
will work in one. 

Forecast : This story should make a picture very good in 
quality, with pretty good box-office results even with un- 
known players. 

"SUSAN AND GOD," the stage play by Rachel 
Crothers, to be produced by Hunt Stroinberg — a satirical 
comedy-drama, dealing with a charming, but selfish and 
vain woman of the world (heroine), who returns from Eng- 
land infected with "The Oxford Movement." Her theories 
about this new religion effect the reformation of her hus- 
band, a drunkard, but her devotion to this movement brings 
about their estrangement. She eventually realizes that real 
faith is an inward feeling, the kind that required no public 
exhibition. 

Comment : The play had 288 performances. The character 
of the heroine is unpleasant for the most part, but it be- 
comes sympathetic in the end. The action unfolds mostly 
by conversation. The play was successful chiefly because 
of Gertrude Lawrence's superb acting. 

Forecast: The play offers to MGM opportunities for a 
fine picture, provided suitable alterations in plot as well as 
in characterizations are made. It is the type of story that 
directs an appeal mostly to cultured people. MGM will 
undoubtedly make a lavish production with it. Very good 
to excellent in quality. 

"THUNDER AFLOAT," a story by Ralph Wheel- 
wright, with Wallace Beery as the star — a war-time 
melodrama, with submarines and submarine chasers, in 
which the hero discovers the whereabouts of a German 
submarine and, by signaling an American submarine chaser, 
brings about its destruction. A charming romance is inter- 
woven in the plot. 

Comment : There is fast action all the way through, con- 
siderable human interest, and a chance for plentiful comedy ; 
and, because the characters are naval officers, glamor. 

Forecast : The picture should turn out either good or 
very good in quality, with similar box-office results if Mr. 
Beery should be in the cast. 

"THOMAS EDISON," the biography of the inventor 
by H. Alan Dunn, showing the struggles of Mr. Edison 
from boyhood to the end of his time. 

Comment : There is deep human interest in the life of 
Mr. Edison, in his struggles as a newsboy first, in his ex- 
periments for the perfection of the incandescent lamp, in 
fiis invention of the phonograph, and his many other in- 
ventions. 

Forecast : This biography should make a good to very 
good picture, with similar box-office results. 

"TWENTY THOUSAND LEAGUES UNDER THE 
SEA," a fantastic undersea adventure, the novel by Jules 
Verne, the famous French author, in which the submarine 
was first conceived in the author's imagination before any 
one had any idea that the day would come when the sub- 
marine would become a reality. 

Comment: When the book was first published, it cap- 
tured the imagination of the readers of all nations, for it 
was translated into almost every language that is spoken 
today. The school child of almost every generation has read 
this book since it was published. It was first pnxluced as a 
picture by William Fox. 

Forecast : The story material is not such as to make a 
picture that would appeal to the masses. In all probability 



it will attract mostly children. If MGM should produce it 
in technicolor, it might become a fascinating spectacle even 
for adults. 

"WINGS ON HIS BACK," a Miles Connolly story, 
to be produced with James Stewart — a comedy-melodrama, 
dealing with a barnstorming flyer, who finds romance when 
he rescues a girl flyer, who turns out to be the daughter of 
the Secretary of the Treasury. 

Comment : The story material is not of such a magnitude 
as to make more than a program picture. 

Forecast : It should make a fair to fairly good picture, 
with the box office performance depending on Mr. Stewart's 
popularity. 

"WINGS OVER THE DESERT," a story by Harold 
Buckley — a melodrama dealing with the efforts of English 
aviators to suppress the uprising of Christian-hating Arab 
bandits, who were led by a fanatical leader. In it the hero, 
Commander of an air squadron, escapes from the hands of 
the bandits and, upon his return, finds his sweetheart mar- 
ried to another man, learns that the Arabs had murdered 
Christians, and conceives a scheme by which the Arab 
murderers are destroyed. 

Comment : This is an action melodrama, the kind that 
should hold one in tense suspense. The nature of the story 
is, however, such as to create a bad feeling among the 
Asiatics. Consequently, the production of such a story is, 
at this time, ill-advised. 

Forecast : The story should make a fairly good to good 
melodrama. 

"WITCH IN THE WILDERNESS," a story by Des- 
mond Holdridge, with Joan Crawford (and possibly Spen- 
cer Tracy) — an adventure melodrama, of an American 
party on a yacht marooned in the Amazon River, in South 
America. 

Comment : The story is ordinary ; it deals chiefly with 
the reactions of people who find themselves in an uncom- 
fortable position. There is mild excitement as a result of 
the mutiny of the crew. 

Forecast : If Spencer Tracy should be given the male 
leading part, there is no doubt that the story will be altered 
considerably. As the story now stands, it should make an 
ordinary picture, with the box office results heightened by 
the presence of two box-office stars. 

"THE WOMEN," the Clare Boothe play, with Norma 
Shearer and Joan Crawford in the leading parts, and with 
Rosalind Russell, Joan Fontaine, and Ruth Hussey in the 
cast — a satirical comedy drama. Gossip is the main pastime 
of the society in which the heroine belongs, which gossip 
eventually touches her, too, by connecting her husband with 
a woman. She wants to forgive, but her supposed-friends 
keep on babbling, compelling her to go to Reno, where she 
obtains a divorce. There she meets some women and be- 
comes so disgusted with their callousness that she resolves 
to become reconciled with her husband. But it is too late — 
he had arranged to marry another woman. It is assumed 
that eventually the two remarry. 

Comment : The play kept going for one and one-half 
years. The critics did not like it but they admitted that it 
appealed to the masses. Considering that the story deals 
with women of the wealthy circle, MGM will no doubt 
make the picture lavish. 

Forecast : The story material has the makings of a very 
good to excellent society drama, with similar box-office 
results. 

"THE YEARLING," the Kinnan Rawlings novel, a 
Florida backwoods country melodrama, with a feud inter- 
woven in the story. A deer is shown becoming the pet of 
the boy-hero. 

Comment : The story is for a picture of the program 
grade. Some sympathy is awakened for the young hero, but 
the feud does not give one pleasure. 

Forecast : It should make a fair program picture. 



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Vol. XXI SATURDAY, JUNE 10, 1939 No. 23 

DON'T MAKE "OF MICE AND MEN," MR. ROACH! 



Mr. Hal Roach 
Hal Roach Studios 
Hollywood, Cal. 

Dear Mr. Roach : 

United Artists, the distributing organization through 
which you are releasing your pictures, has announced to 
the exhibitors that you are going to produce John Stein- 
beck's novel, "Of Mice and Men," which was also produced 
on the stage, by George S. Kaufman. 

As a justification for producing this novel-play, you say : 

"More than 260,000 copies of the book have been sold, while 
the play, which ran six months in New York and won the 
coveted Critics' Award, is now being presented on the road 
from coast to coast." 

In view of the fact that this letter will be read by those 
who are expected to buy this picture, it is no more than fair 
that they be given an idea of what the theme is : 

"Curley, the egotistical son of a ranch boss in Central 
California, and a sneak, is married to Minnie, a gaudy, 
amorous blonde, of shady ancestry. 

"The ranchers Slim, Carlson, Crooks and Candy indulge 
frequently in low-humor discussions. 

"George, a likeable chap, and Lennie, his pal, a feeble- 
minded giant, obtain work in 'this tawdry atmosphere.' 
Through George's efforts to keep Lennie, who loved to pet 
soft things and strangled whatever mice he got hold of, and 
his puppy dog, because they were soft, from doing harm, 
there grew between them a strong affection. 

"Curley, who was hated by the other ranchmen, is unable 
to hold the interest of his amorous wife. He is suspicious of 
every rancher and is constantly upset by her flirtations with 
them. But they spurn her, because they felt that her pres- 
ence meant trouble. 

"Minnie, unable to interest any of them, decides to leave 
the valley and, on the Sunday that followed the arrival of 
George and Lennie, she enters the hayloft of the bunkhouse 
for the purpose of hiding her valise, planning to leave at 
nightfall. 

"As she was leaving the dimly-lighted barn, she is con- 
fronted by Lennie, who was lying in the hay, fondling the 
body of his puppy dog, which he had strangled. 

"Tarrying in the hay-bin, Minnie tells him of her dissat- 
isfaction with her husband, and Lennie, with a silly grin 
on his face, tells her of his love for soft things. Minnie ex- 
hibits to him her soft, flaxen hair, and taunts him to stroke 
it, and Lennie, as he strokes her hair, grabs her about her 
throat and strangles her, just as he had strangled the mice 
and his puppy. 

"Lennie's only worry now is whether George will be 
angry with him. Throwing a few bits of straw over her 
corpse, he goes to the hills. 

"The body is discovered and a posse is formed to find 
Lennie so as to lynch him. 

"George knows of his pal's hideout and, with a feeling 
of loyalty for his companion, decides to defeat the ranchers' 
plans, and the law : Arming himself with a revolver, he finds 
Lennie and shoots him dead." 

Suppose, Mr. Roach, that the producer who had decided 
to produce this story was not you but somebody else ; what 
would you think of such a story in pictures ? Judge the story 
objectively, and not as if you were interested in it. What 
part of it will, in your opinion, interest the public? What 
character? Minnie, the sensual woman? Curley, the sneak? 
Candy, the one-arm recluse, with a mangey dog as his pet ? 
Lenni*, the feeble-minded man? If Lennie, what action of 
his will, in your belief, please the picture-going public 



most? His strangling of mice? — will mice, even if not 
strangled, be cheering to an audience? Lennie's strangling 
of his pet dog? His strangling of Minnie? Will George's 
character be tolerated towards the end, where he murders 
the unfortunate Lennie? 

I know what you will say when you read these lines : you 
will point out to me what the New York critics have said 
about the play, particularly Dick Watts, of the New York 
Herald Tribune. But it has been my belief that the pro- 
ducers of moving pictures have, by this time, learned to 
distinguish between the different arts of expression. Mr. 
Watts was correct in his estimate of the play, because he, 
in judging it, had in mind that a play of this kind will be 
patronized by adults. And these, among the most developed 
mentally. Those who have enjoyed the play will no doubt 
enjoy the picture. 

But you are producing this picture for the general public, 
and not for the patrons of the stage. 

Mr. Roach ! You must not produce this picture. If you 
have any regard for your own reputation, you will not 
produce it. If you haven't, you should at least have some 
regard for the industry in general. Remember that the 
motion picture industry has not treated you badly ; you 
have made a comfortable living out of it. You owe some- 
thing to it, then. 

Mr. Roach ! You must not produce this picture. Remem- 
ber what happened in 1933, when Mr. Adolph Zukor pro- 
duced "Sanctuary," releasing it under the title "Temple 
Drake," the name of the main character in William Faulk- 
ner's book. Mr. Zukor, too, disregarded the warning that 
was given him, and the result was a revolt of the churches. 

Mr. Roach ! In making this plea to you, I am prompted 
only by one desire — to save the industry and your own 
interests from the consequences of your mistake. 

Don't make this picture, Mr. Roach ! There are so many 
other subjects that you can choose from! Subjects that will 
bring joy instead of misery ! Don't make it ! 

Very sincerely yours, 

P. S. Harrison. 

UNITED ARTISTS FORECASTS 

David Selznick Productions 

"REBECCA," the best seller, by Daphne DuMaurier, to 
be directed by Alfred Hitchcock, ("The Lady Vanishes," 
"Secret Agent," and "The 39 Steps"), a society drama, in 
which a young orphaned girl meets in Monte Carlo a 
middle-aged Englishman, a widower, and falls in love with 
him. Although he, too, is madly in love with her, when 
they marry and move to his estate in England, she conceives 
the notion that he was still in love with his dead wife, 
Rebecca, until a crisis arises and she is told by her husband 
what a "rotter" she had been. He confesses to her that she 
had goaded him into murdering her, and then he made it 
appear as if she had drowned in her boat during a storm. 
The two have some heart-breaking experiences when a 
year later the boat is found and in it the skeleton of 
Rebecca, but the young wife encourages him to pretend 
innocence, until the coroner's jury finds that Rebecca's 
death was suicide. 

Comment: The story material is powerful. The finding 
of the boat and of Rebecca's skeleton in it ; the agony both 
husband and wife experience lest the hero be held for 
murder; the inquest by a coroner's jury; the heroine's 
presence at the hearing and her fainting— all these and 
other situations are powerful. 

Forecast: In producing this picture. Mr. Selznick will 
be confronted with a serious problem — how to avoid con- 
( Continued on last pa</e) 



90 



HARRISON'S REPORTS 



June 10, 1939 



"Wolf Call" with John Carroll and Movita 

(Monogram, May 18; time, 60 min.) 

A fair program outdoor melodrama. The story is routine, 
offering tew new angles ; as a matter of fact, the ending is 
(|uite obvious. Action fans will, however, probably find it 
satisfactory, for there are a few good iist fights. Particu- 
larly exciting are the closing scenes, where the plotters are 
outwitted. John Carroll and Movita handle the formula 
romance pleasantly, and sing two musical numbers well : — 

Guy Usher, wealthy radium mine owner, sends his play- 
boy son (Carroll) to Alaska to investigate conditions at the 
mine. Believing that the mine was worthless, as he had been 
told by his scheming lawyer (Holmes Herbert), Usher had 
used it merely as an excuse to get Carroll away from his 
friends, in an effort to make a man of him. Carroll meets 
and falls in love with Movita, whose father worked at the 
mine as a chemist. The chemist makes him realize that the 
mine could work and pay large profits ; it is then that Car- 
roll understands why the foreman (Wheeler Oakman), 
who was in league with the firm that wanted the mine, had 
acted so strangely. He tries to get in touch with his father 
so as to stop him from selling the mine to the rival concern ; 
but Oakman breaks the radio set. Carroll gets off in his 
plane ; but because it had been tampered with he crashes 
and is injured. Movita, a north woods padre (Peter George 
Lynn ) and her father reach Carroll. Lynn, finding the radio 
intact, manages to get through to Carroll's father in time 
to stop the sale. Usher and Polly Ann Young, Carroll's 
former fiancee, arrive by plane. But Miss Young, who could 
see that Carroll really loved Movita, leaves. Carroll decides 
to remain in Alaska, to supervise the mine and to marry 
Movita. 

The plot was adapted from the story by Jack London; 
Joseph West wrote the screen play, George Waggner di- 
rected it, and Paul Malvern produced it. In the cast are 
George Cleveland, John Kelly, John Shcehan, and others. 

Suitability, Class A. Tempo, fairly fast. 



"The Zero Hour" with Frieda Inescort, 
Otto Kruger and Don Douglas 

(Republic, May 26; time, 65 min. ) 

This human-interest drama is pretty good entertainment ; 
it should direct a strong appeal to women. In addition to 
an interesting story, it has good production values, intelli- 
gent direction, and capable acting. One is at all times in 
sympathy with the leading characters, whose actions are 
commendable. The closing scenes, showing the hero killing 
himself in order to insure the heroine's happiness, may 
prove depressing to some, but, from a dramatic standpoint, 
it was the only logical conclusion. Several of the situations 
stir one's emotions. A light touch is provided by J. M. 
Kerrigan, as the hero's valet : — 

Through the capable coaching of Otto Kruger, a famous 
actor-manager, Frieda Inescort becomes a fine actress. She 
and Kruger decide, after the opening night of their new 
play, to drive to a small town to be married. While on the 
road, Kruger discovers that he was out of gasoline and 
gets out to signal a car to stop. He is knocked down by the 
car, suffering such an injury to his spine that he is crippled 
for life. Miss Inescort pleads with him to marry her, but he 
refuses ; she vows never to leave him. For nine years. Miss 
Inescort is a devoted friend, knowing that Kruger's happi- 
ness revolved around her. Being lonesome, she decides to 
adopt a child ; her choice is little Ann Todd. She is heart- 
broken when she learns that Don Douglas, a widower, had 
entered his application for Ann before she had. The child 
brings her together with Douglas and in a short time they 
fall in love. Kruger, fearing that he might lose Miss Ines- 
cort, finally agrees to marry her. But after a visit from 
Douglas. Kruger, realizing he was ruining Miss Inescort's 
chances for happiness, kills himself. 

Garrett Fort wrote the original screen play; Sidney 
Salkovv directed it, and Sol C. Siegel produced it. In the 
cast are Adrienne Ames, Jane Darwell, Leonard Carey, 
Sarah Padden, and others. 

Because of the suicide theme, exhibitors who cater to 
Catholic audiences may find it unsuitable for their needs. 
Otherwise, suitability, Class A. Tempo, somewhat slow. 



"They Asked For It" with William Lundigan 
and Joy Hodges 

(Universal, May 26; time, 61 min.) 

A fair program melodrama, with comedy. The plot offers 
a slightly novel twist, and holds one's attention fairly well, 
since it keeps one guessing as to how the murder had been 
committed and who had committed it. There are occasional 
comedy bits resulting from the antics of small-town char- 
acters. The romance is incidental : — 

Three friends — William Lundigan, publisher of a small- 
town newspaper, Michael Whalen, a lawyer, and Thomas 
Beck, a doctor — having graduated from college at the same 
time, settle in a small town. Each one has a difficult time 
earning a living. Lundigan receives news of the death of a 
certain farmer who had been known to drink too much, and 
he and his two friends go out to the farm to offer condol- 
ences to Isabel Jewell, the dead man's daughter. An idea 
strikes them — why not print a story hinting that the man 
had been murdered ? In that way they could create interest 
in themselves. Their scheme works ; but they are shocked 
to learn that the man had actually been murdered. Lyle 
Talbot, a shady character, tells them that Miss Jewell had 
killed her father. This news creates much excitement. 
Again the three friends are doomed to disappointment when 
they learn that Miss Jewell had lied, her purpose being to 
get publicity for herself. Realizing that exposure of the 
hoax would be to their detriment, they set out to solve the 
case. They discover that the victim had rented his barn to 
gangsters as a hiding place for stolen silks, and that, when 
he had demanded more money, the gangsters had killed 
him. The guilty persons are caught. The three friends settle- 
back to the old routine, except that Lundigan decides to 
marry his assistant (Joy Hodges). 

Lester Fuller wrote the story, and Arthur H. Horman. 
the screen play ; Frank McDonald directed it, and Max 
Golden produced it. In the cast are Spencer Charters, and 
others. 

Suitable for adolescents and adults, but not for children. 
Class B. Tempo, somewhat fast. 



"The Jones Family in Hollywood" with 
Jed Prouty and Spring Byington 

(2Qth Century-Fox, June 2; time, 59'/z min.) 

This is somewhat of a let-down in the "Jones Family" 
series. The comedy is forced, and the action is slightly 
tiresome. It may, however, go over because of the Holly- 
wood atmosphere and of the studio scenes, which show the 
making of pictures. The members of the family, with the 
exception of June Carlson, are less in the limelight than 
heretofore. As a matter of fact, most of the laughter is 
provoked by a newcomer to the series, William Tracy, who 
plays the part of an egotistical young motion picture star. 
The closing scenes, in which Jed Prouty becomes involved 
innocently with a young actress, are fairly amusing : — 

When Jed Prouty is informed that he had been chosen to 
represent his hometown! American Legion post at the con- 
vention in Hollywood, he is quite excited. Knowing that 
Prouty could not afford train fare for them all, the family 
decide to buy a trailer and travel that way ; Prouty reluc- 
tantly agrees to their plan. June accidentally meets Wm. 
Tracy, a motion picture star. When he invites her to visit 
the studio, she arrives accompanied by her family ; this 
annoys him. Eager to make an impression on her, he ar- 
ranges a screen test for her. The test is a dismal failure, but 
June and her family are not aware of it, until June over- 
hears Tracy telling some other girl what he thought of her. 
She then begs her mother to take her back home. Prouty, in 
an effort to help his son, who had become involved with a 
young screen actress he wanted to marry, goes to see the 
girl. His wife and mother find him there and misunder- 
stand ; but he finally convinces them of his innocence. They 
are happy to leave for home. 

Joseph Hoffman and Buster Keaton wrote the story, and 
Harold Tarshis, the screen play ; Malcolm St. Clair di- 
rected it, and John Stone produced it. In the cast are Ken 
Howell, George Ernest, Florence Roberts, Billy Mahan, 
June Gale, and others. 

Suitability, Class A. Tempo, somewhat fast. 



June 10, 1939 



HARRISON'S REPORTS 



91 



"Undercover Doctor" with J. Carrol Naish, 
Lloyd Nolan and Janice Logan 

(Paramount, June 9; time, 66 min.) 

A fair program gangster melodrama. It is not particu- 
larly edifying for young folk, since the leading character, a 
doctor, disregards the ethics of his profession in an effort 
to become wealthy. One cannot, therefore, be in sympathy 
with him when he is finally trapped by the law. As in most 
gangster pictures, the story lacks human appeal, since there 
is not a character that the spectator is particularly inter- 
ested in. Where gangster pictures are liked, it should, how- 
ever, go over, for it has a fair amount of excitement, par- 
ticularly in the closing scenes, where the gangsters are 
finally trapped : — 

J. Carrol Naish, an impoverished small-town doctor, is 
forced to treat a man with a gun wound. Broderick Craw- 
lord, the gangster leader, insists on Naish's taking a large 
fee. When Naish returns to his office, his first impulse is to 
call the police. But he changes his mind, deciding to use the 
money so as to open an office in a good neighborhood in the 
city. He continues secretly to treat gangsters, and becomes 
wealthy. At a hospital one day he meets Janice Logan, who 
had formerly worked for him, and insists that she return to 
his office. Since she, unknown to him, loved him, she agrees. 
But she soon finds out what Naish was doing and pleads 
with him to give it up. He decides to do so until he finds out 
that, unless he could raise $25,0(J0 to cover his stock market 
manipulations, he w : ould lose everything, including his 
society fiancee (Heather Angel) ; he then agrees to one 
more job, demanding $25,000 for it. But Miss Logan, who 
had become acquainted with G-man Lloyd Nolan, notifies 
him, without identifying herself, where he could find the 
gangster whom Nolan had treated. The G-men arrive there 
in time to capture the injured man, but the others escape. 
Nolan, who had become suspicious of Naish and had in- 
vestigated him, works out a scheme whereby he traps 
Naish, Crawford, and the others. Naish gives himself up, 
thankful that it was all over. Nolan comforts Miss Logan. 

Edgar J. Hoover wrote the story, and Horace McCoy 
and William R. Lipman, the screen play ; Louis King 
directed it. 

Unsuitable for children and even for adolescents ; best 
suited for adults. Class B. Tempo, pretty fast. 



"Unmarried" with Helen Twelvetrees 
and Buck Jones 

(Paramount, May 26 ; time, 66 min.) 

Just a mild program entertainment with some human 
interest and comedy; it was made once before, in 1932, 
under the title "Lady and Gent." It is doubtful if the Buck 
Jones fans will enjoy seeing him in a story of this type as 
much as in westerns, for it lacks the pace and excitement of 
the outdoor melodrama. Human interest is aroused by the 
sacrifices hero and heroine make for the sake of a young 
boy they had undertaken to care for. Most of the laughter 
is provoked by the bickering between hero and heroine. 
Although they are shown living together without the bene- 
fit of matrimony, this point has been handled discreetly: — 

Jones, a prizefighter, loses an important bout because of 
drink. Robert Armstrong, his manager, having lost every- 
thing on the fight and desperately in need of money, tries 
to rob a safe ; he is killed by the watchman. Helen Twelve- 
trees, Jones' sweetheart, had always been suspicious of 
Armstrong. When she finds a telegram in his pocket signed 
'Ted," arranging an appointment to meet at a certain house 
in a small town, she insists on accompanying Jones there to 
find out what it was all about. To their surprise "Ted" turns 
out to be Armstrong's young son. Miss Twelvetrees agrees 
to stay for a short time to take care of the boy, but it turns 
into years, during which Jones works hard, fighting on the 
side, in order to earn enough money to send the boy through 
college. When he hears that the boy intended leaving college 
to Income a fighter, he quarrels with him and they fight; 
the boy knocks him down. Sorry for what he had done, and 
realizing that they had sacrificed themselves for him; he 
apologizes, promising to finish his college course. He 
pleads with them to legally adopt him. So they are com- 
pelled to marry in order to do so. 

Groyer Jones and William S. McNutt wrote the story, 
and Lillie Hayward and Brian Marlow. the screen play; 
Kurt Neumann directed it. In the cast are John Hartley. 
Donald O'Connor, Sidney Blackmer, Iarry Crabbe, and 
Edward Pawley. 

Unsuitable for children; all right for adolescents and 
adults. Class B. Tempo, just fairly fast. 



"Invitation to Happiness" with Irene Dunne 
and Fred MacMurray 

(Paramount, June 16; time, 99 min.) 

Just a fair romantic drama, with prizefighting as the 
background. There is nothing unusual about the story, 
which is developed in a ponderous style ; and the action is 
somewhat slow. Not until the last two reels does anything 
happen to touch one's emotions. But in those two reels 
there are a few situations that bring tears ; these are caused 
by father love. Men will be thrilled by the fight in the 
closing scenes, because of the realistic manner in which it 
has been presented. Since the story starts in 1927, the 
characters wear clothes appropriate for that period ; but 
the styles are not particularly becoming to Miss Dunne, 
who appears to advantage only when she starts wearing 
modern clothes. The romance is fairly appealing : — 

Miss Dunne learns that her millionaire father (William 
Collier, Sr.) intended to buy a half-interest in a fighter 
(Fred MacMurray) ; she is so annoyed that she insists on 
accompanying him when he goes to close the deal with the 
fighter's manager (Charles Ruggles). Once she sees 
MacMurray, she is glad to make the deal. She falls in love 
with him. MacMurray, realizing that they were far apart 
socially, tries to resist her; he warns her that she was 
letting herself in for trouble. They marry, and MacMurrav 
moves to her home. He makes her understand that he had to 
continue with his profession, for he had set his goal at 
becoming champion. He is compelled to be away from her 
for long periods, and is not even present when their son is 
born. After ten years, MacMurray gets his chance to fight 
the champion. Just at that time he realizes that his son 
( Billy Cook) did not love him. After a quarrel Miss Dunne 
decides to divorce him. The court awards Billy to his 
father for six months, then to his mother for six months, 
after which time the boy was to choose the one he would 
stay with permanently. Afraid that if he went away to 
training camp, leaving Billy in the city, he might lose his 
chance to win the love of his son, on whom he centered all 
his attention, MacMurray decides to train in the city. His 
one desire was to win the fight, so as to make Billv "proud 
of him. But he loses. This, however, brings him together 
with his wife and son. 

Mark Jerome wrote the story, and Claude Binyon, the 
screen play; Wesley Ruggles directed and produced it. In 
the cast are Marion Martin, Oscar O'Shea, Eddie Hogan, 
and others. 

Suitability, Class A. Tempo, somewhat slow. 



"Charlie Chan in Reno" with Sidney Toler, 
Ricardo Cortez and Phyllis Brooks 

( 20th Century-Fox, June 16 ; time, 70 min. ) 
A fair murder-mystery melodrama, with comedy. The 
plot is developed according to formula, placing several 
characters under suspicion. Murder-mvstery fans will 
probably enjoy it, since the murderer's identity is not re- 
vealed until the end ; they are thus given an opportunity to 
work out the case for themselves. Sidney Toler handles" the 
"Charlie Chan" part with more ease, provoking laughter by 
his witticisms. Comedy is provoked also by Sen Yung, as 
Chans number two son, who gets himself into many em- 
barrassing situations because of his efforts to help his 
father : — 

When Pauline Moore, who had gone to Reno to divorce 
her husband (Kane Richmond), is arrested for the murder 
of Louise Henry, her rival, Richmond feels conscience- 
stricken and pleads with Toler to handle the case. Toler 
1 TT there were several Persons who had reasons 

to kill Miss Henry— Kay Linaker, whose husband had left 
her for Miss Henry; Ricardo Cortez, a doctor, who had 
withheld evidence about the real cause of the death of one 
of Miss Henrys husbands; Phvllis Brooks, who loved 
Cortez and wanted to protect him. and a young man, who 
had been led to believe that Miss Ilenrv' loved him But 
all the evidence points to Miss Moore, and the Sheriff 
( blun Summerville) insists that the case was solved as far 
as he was concerned. Toler, with the help of his son 
finally proves that the murder had been committed hv Miss 
Brooks; she gives herself up. Miss Moore and Richmond 
are reconciled. 

Philip Wylie wrote the story, and Frances Hvland, Al- 
bert Kay. and Robert K. Kent, the screen plav'; \, „•„,.,„ 
Foster directed it. In the cast are Eddie Collins, and others 
n n -r- children: suitable for adolescents and adults. 
Class B. Tempo, tairly fast. 



92 



HARRISON'S REPORTS 



June 10, 1939 



doning murder; for the hero, after all, commits a murder, 
no matter how justified he may have been. In all proba- 
bility some alteration in that part of the plot will be made, 
perhaps presenting Rebecca as really meeting either de- 
liberate or accidental death by drowning, and the innocent 
hero being accused for her murder. Perhaps the death 
should be accidental, so as to avoid giving offense to some 
religions, which consider suicide a mortal sin. With the 
care Mr. Selznick gives his productions, there should not 
be in any exhibitor's mind the least doubt that he will give 
the right solution to this problem. Consequently, the picture 
should turn out excellent in quality as well as box office 
performance. 

Alexander Korda Productions 

"FOUR FEATHERS," a war melodrama to be pro- 
duced in technicolor, in England, with Ralph Richardson 
("The Citadel"), John Clemens ("Knight Without Ar- 
mor"), and C. Aubrey Smith, to be directed by Zoltan 
Korda ("Drums" and "Elephant Boy"). The story deals 
with the hero, one of four close friends and companions, 
who, being afraid of war, resigns from the Army when his 
regiment is ordered to Sudan. Dubbed a coward, he re- 
ceives from each of his three friends and from his sweet- 
heart a white feather. This wounds his feelings so deeply 
that he determines to reclaim himself and return the four 
feathers. He goes to Egypt, disguises himself as a native, 
and is thus able to render not only to his friends, but also 
to the British, particularly at the battle of Odurman, a 
great service. He thus re-establishes himself. 

Comment: Paramount produced this story in 1929, but it 
did not turn out a good entertainment, chiefly because sound 
at that time was in its infancy. There is fast action, and the 
hero's part, as altered, full of human interest. One is in 
sympathy with the hero's efforts to reclaim himself. 

Forecast : Mr. Korda will, no doubt, produce this picture 
on a large scale ; hence his decision to produce it in natural 
colors. Such being the case, the picture should turn out 
cither very good or excellent entertainment, with good to 
very good box office results. 

"OVER THE MOON," a romance, by Robert E. Sher- 
wood, to be produced in technicolor, with Merle Oberon 
("Wuthering Heights"), and Rex Harrison ("The Cita- 
del"), in the leading parts, to be directed by Thornton Free- 
land ("Whoopee," and "Flying Down to Rio"). In it, Rex, 
a young doctor, breaks with Merle when he discovers that 
her grandfather's will had made her the richest girl in 
England. Surrounded by parasites, Merle visits several 
places in the Mediterranean, but in the end she finds out 
how worthless these were and how worthy Rex ; they be- 
come reconciled and return to the English countryside. 

Comment : The story is very thin. Miss Oberon is the 
only player who means something to the box office here. 
The technicolor scenes will, no doubt, be beautiful. Perhaps 
some gorgeous dresses will be worn by Miss Oberon. 

Forecast : The picture should turn out fairly good, with 
fairly good to good results at the box office. 

"THE THIEF OF BAGDAD," with Sabu ("Elephant 
Boy" and "Drums"), and Conrad Veidt. According to the 
information given to this office by the United Artists home 
office, this story will start where Douglas Fairbanks' 
silent "Thief of Bagdad" (1924) left off. "Sabu," the 
sjnopsis says, "will perform magnificent and astounding 
teats of magic. There will be armies of white Arabian 
horses springing out of the ground, Blue Cities and Red 
Cities ; slaves imprisoned in bottles, ballets of magnificent 
dancing girls, flying Ebony horses, birds that carry men in 
iheir claws and a thousand other features. ..." 

Comment : The story is, like the old one, fantastic, but 
it will have many new features. Perhaps it will be more 
interesting than the old version. 

Forecast: The silent version did not go over at the box 
office, but the exhibitor must bear in mind that the present 
picture has two features that the old version lacked — sound 
and color. With color, the spectacular scenes could be made 
a treat to the eye. There is no doubt that, if Mr. Korda 
carries out his plans and produces it on a large scale, the 
pic ture should turn out enchanting, and may perform at the 
box office very well, or even excellently. 

Samuel Goldwyn Productions 

"MUSIC SCHOOL," with Jascha Heifetz, Andrea 
Leeds, Joel McCrea, Walter Brennan and Gene Reynolds, 
to be directed by Archie Mayo. A human interest story, 
centering mainly around some East Side youngsters, one of 
whom (Gene Reynolds) has a talent for music, supposedly 
inherited from his father. Mr. Heifetz comes into the story 



to help save the Music School, in the settlement, in which 
school penniless prodigies were trained by Walter Brennan 
purely for the love of the pursuit, with the hope that, from 
among them, some one, some day, might rise to repay, 
spiritually, the professor's labors. The interest of Heifetz 
had been enlisted by Gene. 

Comment : There is "loads" of human appeal in this 
story, and naturally chances for all types of enchanting 
music. The part of Gene Reynolds awakens warm sym- 
pathy. Mr. Heifetz, too, wins one's sympathy by his coming 
to the rescue of the settlement music school, which was 
about to go on the rocks. The action is fast all the way 
through. 

Forecast : The picture should turn out excellent in qual- 
ity. As to its box office performance, this will, of course, 
depend on how the public will receive Mr. Heifetz in pic- 
tures. In concert work, he is one of the most popular men 
the world over. But the picture should take very well even 
without Mr. Heifetz; so good is the story material and so 
charming will, no doubt, be the music. Andrea Leeds and 
Joel McCrea should help the picture to draw. 

"THE REAL GLORY," a war melodrama unfolding in 
the Philippines at Fort Mysang, Mindanao, immediately 
after the occupation by American troops at the close of the 
Spanish-American War, with Gary Cooper, Andrea Leeds, 
David Niven and Donald Crisp, to be directed by Henry 
Hathaway ("Bengal Lancer," "Spawn of the North," 
"Trail of the Lonesome Pine"). It is the story of the brav- 
ery of American officers and of native constabulary, who 
eventually succeed in subduing a native revolt, which was 
led by Alipang (character name), and in which Alipang is 
killed". 

Comment : Being a war melodrama, the action is natu- 
rally fast. The incidents include a cholera epidemic, an inci- 
dent that is not so pleasant in pictures. But an exception 
has to be made in this instance because the picture is to be 
produced by Samuel Goldwyn — he seems to be the only 
producer who can get away with a cholera epidemic in a 
picture ("Arrowsmith"). There are many thrilling epi- 
sodes. These, Mr. Hathaway will, no doubt, take advantage 
of, for he is thoroughly familiar with the production of 
action pictures. 

Forecast : The picture should turn out very good in 
quality, with similar box-office results. 

Walter Wanger Productions 

"WINTER CARNIVAL," with Aim Sheridan ("Dodge 
City," "Angels With Dirty Faces," "Alcatraz Island"), 
Richard Carlson ("The Young in Heart"), and Helen 
Parrish ("Three Smart Girls Grow Up"), to be directed 
by Charles Reisner. It is a college romance, with Dart- 
mouth College as the background, photographed during 
the Winter Carnival at that College, with the cooperation 
of the College authorities, the Dartmouth Outing Club, and 
the Daily Dartmouth. 

Comment : The main characteristics of this story are 
youditulness and fast action. So far as human interest is 
concerned, there is very little of it. The only situation 
where the emotions of sympathy are stirred is where a son 
finds out that his father was on W.P.A. relief and, realizing 
how much he was sacrificing to get him a college education, 
tells his father that he was going to quit college. 

Forecast : The picture should turn out either good or 
very good in quality, with similar box office results. 
(To be concluded next week) 



NEELY BILL MAKES PROGRESS 

The opponents of the Neely Bill must have received a 
shock when they learned that the Bill was taken out of the 
Sub-Committee's hands and placed into the full Commit- 
tee's, and on Wednesday the full Committee reported it 
favorably by an overwhelming majority, 15 to 3. 

It was on Saturday, May 27, that Senator Neely goaded 
Senator Barkley, majority leader, into giving him an assur- 
ance that action on the Bill would be taken this week. But 
he received that assurance only after he gave Senator 
Barkley perhaps one of the sharpest tongue-lashings that 
he had ever received as a Senator. He practically accused 
him of delaying a report on the Bill deliberately. 

Senator Neely gave some tongue-lashing also to Senator 
Wheeler, of Montana, Chairman of the Committee on In- 
terstate Commerce, which has charge of the Bill. Senator 
Wheeler finally agreed to have the Bill voted out Wednes- 
day, this week, on condition that Senator Neely withdraw a 
motion to discharge the committee. Senator Neely complied. 



Entered as second-class matter January 4, 1921, at the post office at New York, New York, under the act of March 3, 1879. 



Harrison's Reports 

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A REVIEWING SERVICE FREE FROM THE INFLUENCE OF FILM ADVERTISING 

Vol. XXI SATURDAY, JUNE 17, 1939 No. 24 



THE ALLIED CONVENTION IN 
MINNEAPOLIS 

The day on which this issue will come off the press and 
will be mailed (Wednesday), the Allied Convention at the 
Nicollet Hotel in Minneapolis will be in full swing. 

As predicted, the attendance is going to be the greatest of 
any national exhibitor convention in the entire history of 
the motion picture industry, not even the Cleveland Conven- 
tion in 1920, at which time M.P.T.O.A. was formed, ex- 
cepted. All rooms at the Nicollet Hotel were reserved as 
early as the first part of the week beginning May 28, and 
subsequent reservations were switched to the Radisson 
Hotel. 

Some of the M.P.T.O.A. leaders, after promising to at- 
tend, reneged ; they notified Al Steffes that they would not 
attend. Manifestly they feared to face bona-fide independent 
exhibitors of the rank and file, and debate the issues in the 
open, even though they knew that, with Al Steffes as the 
chairman of the convention committee, they would receive 
the highest consideration and the best treatment that they 
have ever received at exhibitor conventions. 

What took place behind the scenes to make them go back 
on their word may not be known for some time, but if who- 
ever suggested the withdrawal felt that their absence would 
make the convention less successful, he will find out how 
wrong he was in his calculations, for the convention is going 
to prove highly successful just the same. It will be more 
in the nature of an industry convention than of an exhibitor 
convention. And if the M.P.T.O.A. leaders should be ab- 
sent, the loss will be theirs, not Allied's. 

Harrison's Reports suggests to the M.P.T.O.A. lead- 
ers that, if they consider themselves an integral part of the 
motion picture industry, they drop everything they may be 
doing and fly to the convention at Minneapolis. 

Whatever important decisions are made at the conven- 
tion will be discussed fully in next week's issue of this paper. 



DUAL BILLS NOT A MATTER OF BELIEF 

At the first session of the Columbia sales convention, 
which was held at Atlantic City early in May, Mr. Abe 
Montague, general sales manager, upheld the dual bills, 
stating that, in this question, the exhibitors are guided, not 
by personal likes or dislikes, but by the preferences of their 
patrons. Mr. Montague is right. 

I doubt whether there could be found in this country a 
single exhibitor who would resort to dual bills if he could 
make a profit with single-feature bills. 

The double-feature program is a matter of necessity with 
these who have resorted to them. When they see their re- 
ceipts vanish because the major circuits do not let them have 
the films until after the public had forgotten about them; 
or, when a circuit gives such stage presentations as to make 
it impossible for an independent exhibitor to compete with 
them, then there is only one way out for him — a double- 
feature hill. If his first double-feature program draws 
patrons into his theatre and subsequent similar bills repeat 
the --re ess. nothing can stop that exhibitor from going into 
double features permanently. 

The double feature bill serves one other worthy purpose 
— to keep the independent producers in business. Columbia, 
Universal, Republic, and Monogram, and even RKO, could 
not have survived without the dual bill policy of thousands 
of theatres, for thus a shortage of film is created, causing a 
demand also for their "R" films. 

There is only one way to cure the double-feature evil : 
the major companies should desist from making "13" films, 
confining their efforts to producing only grade "A" pictures, 
to be sold on merit. 



THE PRODUCER HIGH-PRESSURE 
PROPAGANDA 

Evidently the major companies are frightened to death 
because of the Government suit, and have engaged one of 
the most astute publicity men in the United States to gain 
the public's good will for them. His name is Steve Hanna- 
gan, publicity man for "big shots" in other industries. 

The first release that has come to my attention from this 
publicity man was two weeks ago ; it dealt with the efforts 
of the majors to compel the Government to give more de- 
tailed particulars in the Federal anti-trust suit pending in 
New York. 

Mr. Hannagan says : 

"The defendants' counsel asked : 

"First, an order from the court directing the government 
to comply with the court's decision of March 7 by furnishing 
'a further and more definite and adequate statement and 
bill of particulars.' Defendants claimed the government had 
not answered adequately many of the questions the court 
had ordered to be answered. 

"Second: for an order, in the alternative, 'striking the 
petition for failure to comply with said decision.' 

"Third : for an order for additional particulars which 
already had been granted to Columbia and United Artists. 

"Fourth : for an order extending the time of the defend- 
ants to answer until 60 days after service of a further bill 
of particulars. Defense counsel argued this was necessary 
because of the extremely long period (from 1918 to the 
present) covered in the government's original bill of 
particulars." 

This is only the beginning. It will be interesting to watch 
Steve, and see some of his clever methods of swaying pub- 
lic opinion. From time to time, in these columns, I shall 
keep you advised of his activities. 



PARENTS TEACHERS ASSOCIATION 
FOLLOWS THROUGH ON 
NEELY BILL 

Mrs. Mary T. Bannerman, National Chairman of the 
Committe on Legislation of Parents Teachers Association, 
is not resting on the laurels of our common success in having 
the Neely Bill reported favorably by the Senate Committee 
on Interstate Commerce by an overwhelming majority ; she 
is keeping busy in her efforts to have the Bill passed by the 
Senate. 

By a postal card dated June 1, ^he urges friends of the 
Bill to write to their U. S. Senators requesting them to give 
the Bill their greatest support. 

If the Bill should ever become a law, the independent 
exhibitors of this country will owe Mrs. Bannerman a 
great debt. 



UNITED ARTISTS FORECASTS 
Walter Wanger Productions 

(Continued from last zceek's issue) 
"THE HOUSE ACROSS THE BAY," a story by 
Myles Connolly, with Joan Bennett, to bo directed by 
Archie Mayo. It is the story of a beautiful young girl who 
is wooed by a mysterious man, falls in love with him and 
marries him. All goes well — Florida, New York, Chicago — 
with wining and dining, until she finds out that, not only 
was there against him a Federal charge for tax evasion, but 
also his life was in danger, because of his past shady con- 
nections with corrupt politicians. Feeling that if he were to 
(Continued on last pa</e) 



94 



HARRISON'S REPORTS 



June 17, 1939 



"The Sun Never Sets" with Douglas 
Fairbanks, Jr. and Basil Rathbone 

( ( nivcrsal, J une 9 ; time, 9b min.) 

Although this is just fair entertainment, it may do well 
at the box-office because of the popularity ot the two 
leading players. The story, which is a rather wild melo- 
drama, is lar-tetched. I'or instance, one is supposed to take 
seriously the idea that a man, by means ot broadcasting 
from a remote section on the Atrican Gold Coast, could 
cause riots m nations throughout the world and toment war 
between these nations. The picture should direct its appeal 
mostly to those who enjoy somewhat fantastic melodramas ; 
but intelligent audiences will find it slightly silly. Since the 
background, atmosphere, and manners are definitely Brit- 
ish, the picture is further limited in us appeal to Americans. 
There are two romances : — 

L«ougia.s i-airbanks, Jr., and his brother (Basil Rath- 
bone), ooih connected with the British Diplomatic Service, 
leave lor the Atrican gold coast to investigate the actions oi 
a scientist (basil Ratnbone), a suspicious character. Rath- 
bone's wife (Barbara O'JNieil) insists on accompanying 
them, even though she was expecting a child. Fairbanks 
reuses to marry his sweetheart (Virginia Fields) until he 
wouid return. Having received a message from one of his 
assistants, who was being held captive by Atwill's men, 
Rathbone is compelled to leave his wife on the very night 
she was expecting her baby. During his absence, Atwill 
calls on Fairbanks, who knew nothing about him. Atwill 
convinces him that he ought to call his brother back. Fair- 
banks, frantic with worry over Miss O'Neil's condition, 
sends a messenger after Atwill with false information, 
which brings Rathbone back. The blunder later brings dis- 
grace to Rathbone, who refuses to involve his brother. 
Fairbanks later redeems himself by discovering the where- 
abouts of the radio station used by Atwill to broadcast his 
messages. But he is captured. Rathbone receives orders to 
bomb the radio station. He proceeds with the work, even 
though he knew his brother was there. Fairbanks, however, 
manages to escape ; the others arc killed. Fairbanks and 
Rathbone are congratulated for their good work and are 
promoted. Fairbanks marries Miss Fields. 

Jerry Horwin and Arthur Fitz-Richard wrote the story, 
and \V. P. Lipscomb, the screen play ; Rowland V. Lee 
directed and produced it. In the east are C. Aubrey Smith, 
Melville Cooper, Theodore VonEltz, Mary Forbes, and 
others. 

Suitability, Class A. Tempo, pretty fast. 



"Goodbye Mr. Chips" with Robert Donat 

(MGM, Rel. date not set; time, 113 min. ) 
This British-made picture is a charming, sentimental 
drama of an English schoolmaster. It has human appeal, 
loveable characterizations, and delightful comedy. In addi- 
tion, the performances are superb. Intelligent audiences 
will welcome it as a change from the gangster and "smart- 
alecky" pictures, for it dedicates itself to glorifying the or- 
dinary man in his everyday life. The action is slow-paced 
but that is exactly in keeping with the story, which required 
just such a tempo. Only a small part of the action is de- 
voted to the romance, but so tenderly is it portrayed that it 
leaves an indelible impression on the spectator. The story 
is told in flashback : — 

Mr. Chips (Robert Donat) starts teaching at Brookfield 
School at a young age. His shyness and strict adherence t 
rules make him unpopular with the boys, and so he leads 
a lonely life. He goes on that way until he is middle-aged. 
Then, on a walking trip with a friend, he meets Katherine 
(Greer Garson), a beautiful, intelligent young woman: 
they fall deeply in love and marry. Upon her arrival at the 
school, Katherine immediately charms every one, particu- 
larly the students. Under her guidance. Chips changes, de- 
veloping into a loveable personality ; in a short time he is 
worshipped by all the boys. He is overjoyed when he is 
informed that he had been appointed housemaster. But he 
receives a severe shock when Katherine dies in childbirth ; 
the baby, too, dies. He goes on, however, remembering all 
that Katherine had told him. Although he had retired be- 
cause of old age, he agrees, during the World War, to 
return as headmaster. He is filled with sorrow when some 
of his old pupils are killed at the front. At the age of 81, 
just before dying, he expresses thankfulness for the full life 
he had lived and for the joy he had known in his profession. 

The plot was adapted from the novel by James Hilton ■ 
R. C. Sherriff, Claudine West, and Eric Machwitz wrote 
the screen play ; Sam Wood directed it, and Victor Saville 
produced it. In the cast are Terry Kilburn, John Mills, 
Paul VonHcrnried, Judith Furse, Lyn Harding, Milton 
Rosmer, and others. 

Class A. 



"Climbing High" with Jessie Matthews 
and Michael Redgrave 

(20th Century-Fox — Gaumont-B., Apr. 26; time, 71 min.) 

Just a moderately entertaining comedy; it was produced 
in England. The surprising thing about it is that Jessie 
Matthews neither sings nor dances; despite the fact that 
she handles the comedy part well, spectators who have- 
learned to enjoy her talents as a singer and dancer may 
resent the omission. The story is rather silly, and the dia- 
logue and situations at times risque. There is one situation 
that is extremely suggestive. It shows Miss Matthews, who 
had been called to a certain address by a friend, entering 
the premises and becoming frightened when she sees men 
and women, parti) - dressed, walking around the house. She 
was unaware of the fact that the place was an advertising 
agency and the men and women models. An effort is made 
to provoke laughter by introducing a lunatic in some of the 
situations but the results are more harrowing than amusing. 
The romance is pleasant : — 

Miss Matthews, a model, falls in love with Michael Red- 
grave, without knowing that he was a wealthy society man. 
He uses another name, and poses as a poor working man ; 
in order to be near Miss Matthews he takes a position as 
model with her firm. In the meantime, Margaret Vyner, a 
scheming, impoverished society girl, tries to force Red- 
grave to marry her. When he proves reluctant to do so, she 
pretends to be very ill, and Redgrave, worried about her 
health, refrains from telling her of his love for Miss 
Matthews. But one day he finds her posing when she wa> 
supi>osed to be too ill to see him ; he denounces her and 
tells her, in Miss Matthews' presence, that he intended 
marrying Miss Matthews. But she feels hurt at having 
been fooled, and refuses to see him. When her brother 
(Torin Thatcher) arrives from Canada and hears the story, 
he is determined to teach Redgrave a lesson. He follows 
him to Switzerland. Miss Matthews, worried about what 
he might do, rushes after him. Eventually they all meet at 
the top of a mountain where their differences are ironed out. 

Lesser Samuels and Marion Dix wrote the story, and 
Lesser Samuels, the screen play ; Carol Reed directed it. 
In the cast are Noel Madison, Alistair Sim, Francis L. 
Sullivan, and others. 

The situation commented upon makes it unsuitable for 
children or adolescents. Adult fare. Class B. Tempo, fairly 
fast. 



"Young Mr. Lincoln" with Henry Fonda 

{2'Oih Century -Fox, June 9 ; time, 101 min.) 

Very good entertainment. The story starts in the year 
I1S.1J and traces just a few years in Abraham Lincoln's 
career, when, as a young man, he started out to practice 
law; his two romances are just hinted at. Here he is pre- 
sented as the shy but humorous, somewhat gawky young 
man, who was liked by his neighbors because of his physical 
prowess, his ability to tell amusing stories, and his kind- 
ness towards all. The story does not, however, concentrate 
entirely on Lincoln ; it takes in other characters, too, and 
gives a realistic picture of life on the Midwestern frontier 
at that tune. 1 he courtroom scenes are the highlight of the 
picture ; there young Lincoln defends two young men who 
had been accused of murdering a Deputy Sheriff. Although 
at first he gives one the impression of being unable to cope 
with the case, he comes through brilliantly, obtaining the 
release of his two prisoners. There are several outstanding 
situations. One such situation is that in which Lincoln, by 
means cf a clever speech, prevents the unruly mob from 
lynching the two young men just after they had been ar- 
rested. Another impressive situation is that in which Lin- 
coln talks to Abagail Clay (Alice Brady), mother of the 
two boys, pleading with her to tell him which boy held the 
knife. Mrs. Clay tearfully pleads with him not to ask her, 
for she could not choose between her sons, since her testi- 
mony would mean that one would die and the other live. 
Lincoln understands her predicament and comforts her. 

Henry Fonda, with the aid of excellent makeup, captures 
the spirit of the part and gives what is perhaps his best 
performance to date. He receives excellent support from a 
competent cast, particularly from Miss Brady. 

Since this picture touches upon one phase only in Lin- 
coln's career, it does not spoil the prospects for the Lincoln 
picture announced by RKO, "Abe Lincoln in Illinois." 

Lamar Trotti wrote the original screen play, John Ford 
directed it, and Kenneth Macgowan produced it. In the 
cast are Marjorie Weaver, Arleen Whelan, Eddie Collins, 
Pauline Moore, Richard Cromwell, Donald Meek, Eddie 
Quillan, and others. 

Class A. Although the tempo is somewhat slow, it is 
always engrossing. 



June 17, 1939 



HARRISON'S REPORTS 



95 



"House of Fear" with Irene Hervey 
and William Gargan 

( Universal, June 30 ; time, 65 l / 2 min.) 
A good program murder mystery melodrama. Although 
the story is developed in the routine manner, and familiar 
tricks are used to create an eerie atmosphere, it holds one's 
interest well, because of the fact that the murderers iden- 
tity is not disclosed until the very end. In addition, it has a 
good sprinkling of comedy, and a pleasant romance : — 

The police are puzzled over the mysterious death of an 
actor during the rehearsal of a play in which he was to have 
starred. The theatre in which the murder had occurred is 
closed, the owner (Alan Dinchart) having despaired of 
finding a tenant. William Gargan, a detective, posing as a 
producer, rents the theatre for the purpose of producing the 
play with the original cast. Irene Hervey, who was to have 
been the leading lady, refuses to resume her old part, but 
when she learns that it would mean a great deal to Harvey 
Stephens, the director, with whom she was in love, she 
agrees. The new leading man (Walter Woolf King) is 
killed in the same mysterious fashion as his predecessor. 
Since it was opening night, Gargan insists that Stephens 
himself take the part; he assures Miss Hervey, who was 
frightened, that he would give Stephens protection. The 
criminal is trapped just as he was attempting to kill 
Stephens. Everyone is amazed when he is exposed, for he 
was Dinehart's younger brother (Robert Coote) ; he had 
committed the first murder because his victim had found 
out that he had forged his name to a check. Later he had 
entered into a secret agreement with a syndicate that 
wanted to buy the property. His purpose in committing the 
murders was to give the theatre a bad name, thus forcing 
his brother to sell. 

Thomas F. Fallon and Wadsworth Camp wrote the 
story, and Peter Milne, the screen play ; Joe May directed 
it, and Edmund Grainger produced it. In the cast are 
Dorothy Arnold, El Brendel, and others. 

Because of the murders it is unsuitable for children ; 
harmless for adolescents and adults. Suitability, Class B. 
Tempo, fairly fast. 

"The Kid From Kokomo" with Wayne 
Morris, May Robson, Joan Blondell 
and Pat O'Brien 

(First National, June 24 ; time, 92 min.) 
Just a fair program comedy, centering around prize- 
fighting ; its appeal will be directed mostly to men. It lacks 
general audience appeal, for not only is the story silly, but 
the characters are extremely unappealing. They, with the 
exception of the hero, display the basest traits. And even 
the hero fails to win one's sympathy because of the stu- 
pidity of the character he portrays. An effort has been 
made to awaken human interest by showing the reforma- 
tion of a slovenly old drunken woman with criminal ten- 
dencies through her association with the hero ; but the man- 
ner in which it has been presented is in such poor taste that 
it annoys one :— 

Pat O'Brien, a prizefight manager, double-crosses four 
gamblers by selling each of them a half-interest in his 
fighter (Maxie Rosenbloom). He leaves town in company 
with his fiancee (Joan Blondell) and his trainer (Ed 
Brophy). At one of his stops he finds Wayne Morris, a 
young farmer with a powerful punch. But Morris refuses 
to leave because he hoped that some day his mother, who 
had been gone for twenty years, would return. O'Brien and 
Miss Blondell promise to help Morris find his mother. 
When they return to the city, O'Brien picks up May Rob- 
son, a rum-soaked pickpocket, and engages her to pose as 
Morris' mother. The trick works ; Morris is happy with 
his "mother" and agrees to continue fighting. Miss Robson 
makes merry with Morris' money. O'Brien, knowing that 
she would dissipate all of Morris' earnings, tells Morris the 
truth, but he refuses to believe it, and so O'Brien calls in 
Stanley Fields, a crook-pal of Miss Robson's, to identify 
her. But Miss Robson outwits him by introducing Fields as 
Morris' father. When Morris learns from gamblers that 
Miss Robson had given bad checks for gambling debts, he 
promises to throw the championship fight in order to keep 
her out of prison. But when the champion makes cracks 
about his "mother" he knocks him out and wins the cham- 
pionship. The gamblers kidnap him. Miss Robson and 
Fields, who were preparing to run away with Morris' 
money, go to his rescue ; they save him, turn back his money 
to him, and confess everything. Instead of turning them 
away, he compels them to get married and then adopts 
them as his parents ; and he marries Jane Wyman. 

Dalton Trumbo wrote the story, and Richard Macanh 
and Jerry Wald, the screen play; Lew Seiler directed it. 



and Sam Bischoff produced it. In the cast are Sidney Toler. 
Winifred Harris, Morgan Conway, Ward Bond, and others. 

Not particularly edifying for children. It will do for ado- 
lescents and adults. Class B. Tempo, fairly fast. 



"6,000 Enemies" with Walter Pidgeon 
and Rita Johnson 

(MGM, June 9; time, 61 min.) 
A fair program prison melodrama, suitable mostly for the 
action fans. As far as they are concerned, it has plentiful 
excitement, such as a prison break and fights ; and it should 
hold them in suspense owing to the danger to the hero, one 
of the prisoners. The story is, however, so far-fetched that 
discriminating audiences may find it slightly ridiculous. 
And, although one wants to sympathize with the hero, one 
finds this difficult because of the indifferent way in which 
the part has been handled. The most sympathetic character 
is played by Paul Kelly, as the prison doctor, who tries to 
help the hero. The romance is of slight importance : — 

Walter Pidgeon, District Attorney, is famous because of 
the number of convictions he had obtained. Rita Johnson, 
one of the persons he had sent to prison, is unable to con- 
vince any one that she was innocent. When Pidgeon himself 
is framed on a bribe charge by Harold Huber, a gangster, 
and is convicted and sent to prison, he realizes that inno- 
cent persons could be convicted. Kelly, the prison doctor, 
warns Pidgeon of his danger because of his many enemies, 
men he had convicted. The prisoners, led by Nat Pendle- 
ton, do everything they can to make life miserable for 
Pidgeon ; but he overcomes their antagonism when he 
shows his courage in a bout with Pendleton. He manages to 
talk to Miss Johnson, who was at the same prison, and to 
get her side of the story ; he promises to help her. In the 
meantime, his young brother (John Arledge), who had 
been trailing Huber and had obtained valuable information, 
rushes to the prison to tell Pidgeon about it. He is killed by 
the gangsters just as he approaches the prison entrance ; 
but the prison guards capture the gangsters. In the excite- 
ment that follows, the prisoners start a break. Quick think- 
ing on Pidgeon's part prevents real trouble. Eventually 
both he and Miss Johnson are cleared, and they marry. 

Wilson Menard and Leo L. Stanley wrote the story, and 
Bertram Millhauser, the screen play; George B. Seitz di- 
rected it, and Lucien Hubbard produced it. In the cast are 
Grant Mitchell, J. M. Kerrigan, and others. 

Unsuitable for children ; suitable for adolescents and 
adults. Class B. Action, pretty fast. 



"It Could Happen to You" with Stuart Erwin 
and Gloria Stuart 

(20th Centuiry-Fox, June 30 ; time, 71 min. ) 

Here is a picture that, despite its lack of star names, is 
very entertaining. It may be difficult to attract patrons to 
the box-office, but once in, there is no doubt that they will 
be entertained. It starts off delightfully, in a natural, down- 
to-earth manner, and then develops into a comedy-drama 
that holds one's interest to the very end. The writing, direc- 
tion, and acting are all good : — 

Gloria Stuart, married to Stuart Erwin, is unhappy be- 
cause Erwin gave all his ideas to Douglas Fowlcy, who 
worked with him at an advertising agency owned by Ray- 
mond Walburn. Fowley progressed, but Erwin stayed in 
the same place. Miss Stuart, learning that Walburn was 
giving a party for his college alumni, to which Fowley had 
been invited, insists that Erwin attend, even though he was 
not invited. Erwin, by suggesting that he would stop giving 
Fowley ideas, induces him to take him to the party. The) 
have a good time, get slightly tipsy, and leave for home. 
On the way, they stop at a cafe for a drink. After Erwin 
returns, Miss Stuart remembers she had left her purse in 
the car, and goes down to get it. She is shocked when she 
finds in the car a dead woman. Erwin, being innocent, calls 
in the police ; but they arrest him on a murder charge. Miss 
Stuart decides to take matters into her own hands. She 
visits a famous lawyer who had been at the party and 
threatens to expose the fact that there had been chorus girls 
at the party unless he handled her husband's case. In the 
meantime, Walburn promises Erwin a promotion and in- 
crease if he would not involve him and his friends ; the 
friends send Erwin expensive gifts. Miss Stuart and Fow- 
ley finally solve the case and help the police capture the 
murderer. Frwin is happy at the way things turned out. 

Charles Hoffman wrote the story, and Allen Rivkin and 
Lou Breslow, the screen play; Alfred Werker directed it. 
and David Hempstead produced it. In the cast are June 
Gale, Richard Lane, Clarence Kolb, Paul Hurst, and others. 

Because of the murder, unsuitable for children. Suitable 
for adolescents and adults. Class B. Tempo, fairly fast. 



96 



HARRISON'S REPORTS 



June 17, 1939 



go to the penitentiary for a year or two for tax evasion, at 
least his life would be spared, she, on the advice of her hus- 
band's lawyer, gives his whereabouts away to the Federal 
authorities and cooperates with them in his conviction. But 
what a shock it is to her when he is sent to Alcatraz for ten 
years ! By this time, the lawyer had become infatuated with 
her. To avoid him, she changes her name and gets a job in 
a cabaret as a singer. In a short time, she falls in love with 
the owner of the cabaret. Her husband escapes from prison 
and goes to the cabaret. When he sizes up the situation, he 
leaves. The following morning the lawyer is found dead, 
and his body in the river. The young wife realizes that her 
husband had made a sacrifice for her. 

Comment : There is confusion of loyalties in this story. 
Can the spectator feel sympathy witli a woman who will 
make such a blunder as to send her husband to jail for ten 
years, even though her motive was, from her own point of 
view, worthy ? Even if one would condone her act, the fact 
that she fell in love with somebody else afterwards is 
enough to deprive her of what little sympathy she could get. 
The husband is an unsympathetic character all the way 
through, and in the end he commits murder and, in addition, 
takes his own life. The lawyer is a scoundrel. The only 
person who seems to be satisfactory is the cabaret owner. 
But his part is inconsequential. 

Forecast : The story, unless the characterizations and the 
plot are altered, cannot make an entertaining picture. As far 
as its box office performance is concerned, it will depend to 
some extent on the popularity of the male lead. 

Hal Roach Productions 

"THE HOUSEKEEPER'S DAUGHTER," a story by 
Henderson Clarke, a comedy-melodrama, with Joan Ben- 
nett and Adolphe Menjou in the leading parts, to be directed 
by Mr. Roach himself: Beautiful Hilda persuades Robert 
Randall to rent Reverend Maxon's house in Greenwich 
Village, in which house her mother acted as a housekeeper. 
The excuse Robert gives to the Reverend is that he wanted 
to work on a thesis. To enable himself to pay the rent, 
Robert takes in as boarders three of his newspaper pals — 
Pete, Ed, and Deacon Ezra. Between drinks and flirtations, 
all four are engaged in tracking down a mysterious mur- 
derer. Before long, Robert finds himself in love witli Hilda. 
Unfortunately, Manny, a racketeer living in the neighbor- 
hood, too, becomes infatuated with her, and plans to kidnap 
her. But the servant poisons Manny's coffee, Pete falls 
asleep with a lighted cigarette and sets the house afire, 
Hilda's father returns rich to claim his wife and daughter, 
and Robert decides to do the right thing by "our Nell" 
(Hilda). 

Comment : It is just one of those stories that make a pic- 
ture the quality of which depends mostly on the work of the 
screen-play writer, and, after a good script is prepared, on 
casting and good direction. 

Forecast : In all probability this story should make a pic- 
ture fairly good in quality. 

"OF MICE AND MEN": This story was discussed 
editorially in last week's issue. 

"CAPTAIN CAUTION," by Kenneth Roberts 
("Northwest Passage"), a sea story unfolding at a period 
of time when there was no law and order on the high seas — 
in 1812. It deals with Dan Marvin, a sailor, who, when Cap- 
tain Dorman dies, takes charge of the ship, planning to 
marry Corunna, the Captain's daughter, after reaching port. 
But they are attacked by a British brig and taken prisoners. 
In the British ship, Dan meets Slade, an ex-slaver, and 
Argandeau, a French Captain. They escape together, and 
they regain Corunna's ship, which she plans to sail tor 
France against Dan's advice. Slade sells the information to 
the British and a few days later the ship is attacked and 
captured. Dan, to save lives, surrenders it. Slade makes 
Corunna believe that Dan had double-crossed her, and per- 
suades her to follow him to Paris. With Corunna's help, 
Slade outfits a ship, but what is her dismay when she at last 
finds out that Slade had been working with the British ! 
Slade attacks an American ship, but it happens to be the 
ship that was commanded by Dan, who, with other prison- 
ers, had escaped and outfitted an American ship. Dan defeats 
Slade. 

Comment : There is fast melodramatic action all the way 
through. Dan is a sympathetic character. If produced on a 
large scale, the picture should turn out also spectacular. 

Forecast : The story should make a picture good to very 
good in quality, with the box office results depending on 
the leads. 

"TURNABOUT," by Thorne Smith ("Topper" and 



"Topper Takes a Trip"), a fantastic story dealing with a 
married couple (Tim and Sally) who are dissatisfied with 
each other: the wife thinks that the husband's job is a 
cinch, and the husband thinks that the wife does nothing 
but sleep till noon and do nothing the rest of the day. But 
Ram, the Egyptian ornament-god, comes to the rescue : he 
transfers the wife's self into the husband's body, and the 
husband's into the wife's body. Tim, as a woman, does the 
home work, and Sally, as a man, goes to the office and does 
Tim's work. "His" feminine voice startles the office work- 
ers, and when "he" uses the ladies' room the office is thrown 
into an uproar. The boys say among themselves that they 
had never thought that of Tim. Then comes the shock: 
"Tim" becomes pregnant. "He" doesn't like the idea, of 
course, but what can he do about it? Nine months later, 
Tim, with a good cigar in his mouth, has a baby. Satisfied 
that he had done a good job, the Egyptian god transforms 
both into their former selves. 

Comment : Only a person who has lost all sense of pro- 
portion would think that a. story such as this would make a 
good entertainment. It seems to be one of Hal Roach's 
"flights of fancy." 

Forecast : No hope for this. The idea is too vulgar. 
Edward Small Productions 

• "KIT CARSON, AVENGER," the Evelyn Wells news- 
paper serial that appeared in nine big-city Hearst news- 
papers with a circulation of ten million, with Joel McCrea, 
Henry Fonda, and Francis Dee. It was also dramatized on 
the air over 54 stations of the CBS chain, with a listening 
audience of 17,000,000. It is an adventure melodrama, un- 
folding in the days when the west was practically still a 
wilderness and when California was yet part of Mexico, 
and dealing with a historical character, a man who helped 
Freemont, a U. S. Army officer, explore and map a large 
part of the west, including Oregon and California; he 
helped Freemont also take over California, when that officer 
fought the M exicans without the U. S. Government's 
authority. 

Comment : The period of American history "Kit Carson, 
Avenger" deals with is extremely fascinating. It touches on 
Sutter and even President Lincoln. There is fast action all 
the way through, many a thrilling situation, and no little 
human interest. 

Forecast : If Edward Small should produce this picture 
on a large scale, there is no reason why it should not turn 
out either very good or excellent in quality, with very good 
box-office results. 

"MY SON, MY SON!" the Howard Spring best seller, 
dealing with the hopes of two fathers, close friends, for their 
sons. The son of the one father turns out good, but the son 
of the other turns out worthless. Tragedy is their lot when 
the good son (Rory) is killed by the bad son (Oliver). A 
year later the papers are full of a Manchester murder, which 
is traced to Oliver. Thus the hopes of the two fathers are 
shattered. Perhaps they will visit the grave of Rory in 
Ireland, to say "good-bye" to their sons together, and to 
bring back to memory the night before their sons were born, 
when in pride and in a little parental blindness they were 
telling each other what they would do with their sons. 

Comment : There is deep human interest in this story. 
Some of the situations are heart-rending. The action keeps 
one interested intensely from start to finish. 

Forecast : Mr. Small has an excellent piece of property in 
this novel, and if he should give it the proper care he should 
be able to make an outstanding picture with it, both in qual- 
ity as well as box-office performance. 

"TWO YEARS BEFORE THE MAST," an adven- 
ture sea melodrama, Henry Dana's old novel, which sold 
more than 1,300,000 copies in the past century, and has been 
translated into twenty-six languages. The hero of this 
story sails on The Pilgrim, learns to eat salt junk and hard 
bread, sees men slip overboard in icy waters, battles with 
icebergs off Cape Horn, sees men flogged so mercilessly for 
violating the laws of the sea that his blood runs cold, visits 
lands where men made free use of opium, drifts in becalmed 
waters under burning suns, dances at gay fiestas and, in the 
color-splashed ports where conquistadores once roamed the 
Spanish Main, makes love to laughing senoritas. 

Comment : There are good possibilities in this story. 
There is fast action, and thrilling as well as adventurous 
situations, and an opportunity for heroics. 

Forecast : If produced on a large scale, this story should 
make a very good picture, with the box office results de- 
pending to a substantial extent on the popularity of the 
players. 



Entered as second-class matter January 4, 1921, at the post office at New York, New York, under the act of March 3, 187S. 



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Vol. XXI SATURDAY, JUNE 24, 1939 No. 25 



The Code Withdrawn Before Convention Vote 



The Code of trade practices, final draft of which was 
dated June 10, was withdrawn by the distributors at the 
Thursday afternoon session of the Allied convention, 
meeting at the Nicollet Hotel, in Minneapolis, before the 
convention had had a chance to vote on it. Shortly after 
chairman Cole had read the exhibitor negotiating commit- 
tee's report rejecting it as insufficient, Mr. W. F. Rodgers, 
acting chairman of the distributor negotiating committee, 
rose and withdrew the code, stating at the same time that the 
distributors would refuse to confer further with Allied 
representatives. 

Mr. Rodgers employed the word "we." This led some 
Allied leaders to express a doubt whether he meant all the 
distributors or only his company, MGM ; but in view of the 
fact that, just prior to announcing the withdrawal of the 
code, Mr. Rodgers had an impromptu conference with 
Messrs. Sears and Montague, two distributor-members of 
the committee, as well as with representatives of all the dis- 
tributors present, it may be taken for granted that he meant 
all the distributors. 

Mr. Rodgers took the exhibitor committee's report as a 
reflection on his integrity. He worked so conscientiously 
and so hard to bring about a workable instrument, that its 
rejection wounded his feelings. 

There is not an exhibitor who has come in contact with 
Mr. Rodgers but feels that he is a man of the highest integ- 
rity. But in a matter of this kind, in which the views are so 
conflicting, one should be guided, not by feelings, not by 
one's affection or admiration for the persons involved, but 
solely by the facts of the case. Does the report of the exhi- 
bitor negotiating committee contain any misstatement of 
facts important in determining the Code's practicability ? 
If it does, what are they? The issues involved are too 
great to be determined in any other way. 

Even if the Code had a fighting chance, the blunders made 
by its proponents killed the possibility for a favorable vote. 
The distributors brought into the controversy irrelevant 
issues, giving the exhibitors an opportunity to contravert 
them. The "Government regulation" bugaboo is one of 
them. No sooner did Ed. Kuykendall finish his tirade against 
the Neely Bill as being government regulation than he advo- 
cated government regulation on another subject: he urged 
the enlisting of the aid of the restaurant and of the radio 
people to induce the Government to regulate ASCAP. Be- 
sides, it is not so wise for them to decry Government regu- 
lation when they are now rushing to Secretary of Commerce 
Hopkins to "regulate them," as Mr. Myers put it, so as to 
bring an end, no doubt, to the Government's suit. 

Another blow to the chances of the Code was the state- 
ment made by Gradwcll Sears at the Wednesday afternoon 
session : he admitted that there is nothing wrong in the dis- 
tributors' action in trying to get as much money for their 
pictures under the Code as they received last season. Mr. 
Yamins pinned him down so that there was no doubt in any- 
one's mind as to what he meant. This statement he made 
during a discussion in which the exhibitors accused the dis- 
tributors' field forces of "chiseling"; the exhibitors, par- 
ticularly Mr. Steffes, accused them of telling the exhibitors 
that the Code would not stop them from getting as much 
money for their pictures as before, so as nullify the can- 
cellation provision; also, from forcing on the exhibitors 
shorts, news and trailers. 

It is true that Mr. Rodgers, speaking for all the distribu- 
tors who have taken part in the negotiations, assured the 
convention that any salesman who would he found guilty of 
"chiseling" would be discharged at once. But the damage 



had already been done ; most exhibitors could not dispel 
their doubts as to the workability of the Code. 

The announcement by Paramount that it would go into 
the trailer business did not help the Code either ; many ex- 
hibitors have said : how can Paramount go into the trailer 
business when it is negotiating for a Code one of the pro- 
visions of which stipulates that the exhibitor shall not be 
compelled to buy trailers and other short subjects in order 
that he might obtain the features? They feel that Para- 
mount can make no profit from its trailers unless its' sales- 
men compel the exhibitors to buy them. 

What contributed to hurting Mr. Rodgers' feeling was, 
no doubt, also Sidney Samuelson's bringing in the name of 
Marcus Loew. Samuelson's reference to Mr. Loew, whose 
memory every one in the industry reveres, was ill-thought 
and unnecessary ; it could not contribute to solving present- 
day problems. 

It is the belief of this paper that the lapse of a few days' 
time will soothe feelings, and that a resumption of negotia- 
tions will be attempted. Before any one can hope for success, 
however, two problems must be faced : block-booking, with 
its twin brother, blind-selling, and theatre divorcement ; 
otherwise, it is unlikely that 'the new negotiations will suc- 
ceed, not at least as long as the Government's case is on the 
calendar, and as long as there is hope that the Neely Bill 
will become a law. 



THE OBJECTIONABLE PARTS 
OF THE CODE 

It is the intention of this paper to publish, beginning today, 
those parts of the code that were found by the exhibitor 
negotiating committee objectionable; also the parts of the 
report dealing with them. 

Let it be said at this time that the report was the unani- 
mous decision of the negotiating committee members includ- 
ing the alternates ; that it was approved by the Allied board 
of directors unanimously ; that every member of the board 
signed the minutes approving the report and transmitting 
it to the convention ; that, aftjr Mr. Rodgers had withdrawn 
the Code and the convention indicated that it did not want 
to bother voting on it, the convention, on a motion by an 
exhibitor, approved the report of the negotiating committee 
by a rising vote. 

The grounds on which the committee recommended the 
rejection of the distributor trade practice proposals were, 
copying from the report, the following ; 

"(1) They do not provide an effective remedy for the 
major abuses of which Allied States Association has com- 
plained and for the correction of which it has waged a long, 
aggressive and increasingly successful campaign; (2) the 
proposals as drafted and submitted by the distributors do 
not fully and accurately reflect the substance of the negotia- 
tions and representations made by the dstributors in the 
course thereof; (3) reports coming from many sections of 
the country show convincingly if not, indeed, conclusively, 
that the distributors already arc taking steps to circumvent 
and nullify the moderate concessions offered; and (4) 
acceptance of the proposals, particularly in view of the 
preamble thereto, would handicap the exhibitors in seeking 
further relief from oppressive and monopolistic trade prac- 
tices, would hinder the Government in the prosecution of 
pending actions under the anti-trust laws and would supply 
the distributors with additional ammunition with which to 
combat the Neely Bill and other remedial legislation." 
(To be continued next ivcck) 



98 



HARRISON'S REPORTS 



June 24, 1939 



"Clouds Over Europe" with Laurence 
Olivier, Ralph Richardson 
and Valerie Hobson 

(Columbia, June 20; time, 78 miu.) 

Good entertainment for class audiences. Those who ap- 
preciate fine acting and intelligent dialogue will find this 
comedy-melodrama highly entertaining. But, since it was 
produced in England with players who, with the exception 
of Laurence Olivier, are not well known here, it is doubtful 
if it will attract the masses; furthermore, the accents are 
.so "thick" that at times it is difficult to understand